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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Stacy Carpenter pointed out a moldy mattress, a comforter stained with urine and bags of trash. She isn't angry -- she is disgusted.
For years, she has found similar garbage outside In The Image on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. The faith-based charity collects donations, organizes them and then gives them to families in need for free.
A tip led Target 8 to uncover that people have been dumping their trash outside In The Image for volunteers to discover, pick through and then clean up.
"I get disgusted that somebody thinks that we're a dumping ground here," Carpenter said.
She has been with In The Image for eight years and says her heart has been in it from the start. She takes pride in helping families in need, but the job takes a toll when she has to pick through grimy trash instead of donations.
"I picked up the clothing and unbeknownst to me did I realize that it had human feces on it. And I think that's where I draw the line," Carpenter said.
Surveillance video of another trashing shows three men unloading two pickup trucks filled with bags of trash.
"I know that there were syringes in there. I know that there were razor blades. I know that stuff was covered in feces and urine and my staff had to work on this," In The Image Executive Director Jay Starkey said.
"It takes about an hour and 45 minutes out of every morning and a lot of it is nasty stuff you shouldn't really be touching," said David Jansen, a contractor with the charity.
It apparently is nasty stuff -- nasty enough to prompt one of the men in the surveillance video to put gloves on. He then started pulling the trash out of the truck bed to dump on the ground. One of the trucks has wooden slats, but the license plate can't be made out in the dark, grainy video caught on the surveillance camera mounted outside the charity.
The Grand Rapids Police Department is investigating what's happening at In The Image. Lt. Michael Maycroft says illegal dumping is a problem across the city.
"It's actually disgusting. That's why we follow up on this and that's why, if we can find people who are responsible, we're going to investigate that," Maycroft said.
Police haven't made any arrests, but investigators have found clues. In the middle of a trash heap left in late June, police discovered an insurance letter with Norma Prieto's name and address.
Target 8 went to the address that turned out to be just a few houses away from In The Image. People who live there said Prieto moved months ago, so Target 8 tracked her down at her new address. She said she never dumped her trash outside In The Image.
"Why would I do that? I had a trash bin there," said Prieto.
She said she doesn't know how her stuff ended up outside the charity. She moved from the area in late May. The trash was dumped in late June.
"The landlord took all the rest of my stuff that was there. He didn't give me a chance to go clean it," said Prieto, adding that she doesn't have a car and she wouldn't have been able to drive her trash from her new address to her old neighborhood.
The landlord told 24 Hour News 8 he didn't dump the trash, either.
A government-issued identification card listing a woman's name and address was another clue left among another trash pile.
Target 8 tried to track down that person, but isn't the only one having trouble finding her. She didn't show up for a 61st District trial on drug charges. There's a warrant out for her arrest.
"I would look them straight in the eye and say, number one, 'You disgust me. Do you know what we do for this community? Do you know what we try to do every single day?' We're the only place around that gives everything we do for free. We don't charge a dime for what we do," Starkey said.
==Watch: Surveillance video of the men dumping trash.==
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