Trailer, books stolen from reading organization - WSMV News 4

Trailer, books stolen from reading organization

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The founder of a nonprofit organization was stunned Thursday morning when he arrived for work and found a trailer filled with books stolen from his business.

Ride for Reading founder Mathew Portell discovered the break-in and theft when he arrived at the organization's office on Elm Hill Pike Thursday morning.

"This morning I came in very early, and in the fog, I thought my eyes were playing a trick on me that I just couldn't see our trailer," Portell said.

Volunteers were going to use the trailer to pick up 15,000 books, donated by an organization in Washington, D.C.

"The only thing they left us was the 2x4 that was holding our tires in place," Portell said.

Portell started Ride for Reading three years ago to promote literacy and healthy living.

"We have a few thousand books. We have them sorted by grade level," Portell said.

Once a month, he and others in the cycling community hop on their bikes and deliver books to children who need them most.

Ride for Reading is a small nonprofit with a limited budget. Community involvement has helped make it a success, so when something like this happens, it hurts.

"We try to do really good work and help people out. There are still people out there just making these bad choices, especially during this holiday season," Portell said.

The stolen trailer had thousands of books in it.

"I'm sure whoever took them wasn't planning on getting 2,000 children books," Portell said. "A lot of people don't understand that the power of a book in the hand of a child can send them to so many different places and gives them the ability to push themselves and learn things and go places and experience things they never would be able to."

Ride for Reading did receive a replacement U-Haul on Thursday that will allow them to travel to D.C. to pick up those 15,000 books.

There are no surveillance cameras in the complex and the trailer didn't have any artwork on it.

By the end of this school year, Ride for Reading will have given out nearly 100,000 books to children in Nashville since it began.

Visit the Ride for Reading website to learn how to make a donation.

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