CLINTON — Staff at the Salvation Army Thrift Store came into work Tuesday morning and were shocked to find that vandals had damaged the building and a donation truck during the night.

Store Manager Diana Harrison was dropped off at work and immediately noticed heavy amounts of spray paint on the building and the truck. Harrison said it’s not the first time the store has been vandalized. Damage and trash are an ongoing problem.

“We’ve had a little bit on the back of our building before, but not that bad,” she said. “We get a lot of trash here, we pick this stuff up every morning.”

Harrison said people continue to drop donations outside the building after hours, right under a no dumping sign, despite repeated pleas from Salvation Army staff requesting people wishing to donate gently used items do so during business hours.

She added that within the last few years, people have broken glass in the front door with bricks, attempted to set fire to the building and have set fire to the large drop bins near the front door. Harrison said costs of repairing the damage to the building takes money away from the various support programs the Salvation Army offers.

“The people that do this are taking money away from people that need it,” said Harrison.

Vandals sprayed red, orange, purple and black paint, writing apparent gang symbols, triple sixes, a swastika, a marijuana leaf and anarchy signs on the south and west walls of the building, as well as the truck the store uses to collect donations for shipment to the Davenport store.

Harrison said security lights on the side of the building will be fixed, but she’s not sure it will deter future vandalism attempts.

“We even tried to put a fake camera out there to keep people from stealing our stuff and they stole the camera,” said Harrison.

Store clerk Sharon Stoddard said the vandalism is upsetting.

“Especially picking on the Salvation Army going into the holiday season,” Stoddard said. “They need to treat the Salvation Army better than that.”

Thrift store customers also were disheartened.

“That’s terrible,” said Clinton resident Keith Turner. “It’s pretty sad that you can’t have a safe haven anymore. Whoever it is, I hope they catch them.”

After filing a police report this morning, store officials will contact the main Salvation Army office and report the incident for an insurance claim. Harrison was not sure when the graffiti would be removed or painted over.

Clinton Police Officer Chris Robertson said the style of graffiti will be checked against other incidents of vandalism in Clinton. Evidence was recovered from the scene and will be used as part of the investigation by the Clinton Police Department.