Nova Scotia

Support after theft from workshop restores owner's 'faith in humanity'

About $1,000 worth of tools were stolen from a volunteer-run workshop on Saturday.

'There are 99% good people out there who are willing to step up'

After the theft of tools valued at around $1,000, the workshop might have closed for good. (Hands-On Halifax Facebook page)

Support has been pouring in after about $1,000 worth of tools were stolen from a community workshop in Halifax on Saturday.

Hands-On Halifax is a woodworking shop run by volunteers in the city's north end.

Dave Clearwater, who runs the social enterprise, said they had been suspecting something was awry for a week leading up to the theft. Some small items had going missing.

"Saturday was the kind of straw that broke the camel's back," said Clearwater. "We noticed a whole bunch of new tools that were in boxes in lockers had disappeared."

He told the CBC's Information Morning the breach of trust is more difficult for him to get over than the loss of the tools.

He added police were not involved in an investigation because the workshop had no security cameras. They also had no serial numbers for the tools at the time.

Clearwater said it was disheartening, especially because he believes it was an inside job — the door wasn't damaged and he had given the code to a few trusted individuals.

By the time the dust had settled he did an inventory and discovered it was approximately $1,000 of new equipment that was taken.

Among the stolen tools are an electric planer, a wood lathe and an electric belt sander.

"Some of our tools are legacy tools in the fact that their family member passed away and they brought them to us because they knew that they would be used," he said.

Saturday was a rough day for Clearwater, who said the two options he contemplated were to close down permanently or appeal to the community for help.

"I was very angry and [my wife] reminded me that there are a lot of good people in Halifax," he said. "That was echoed in our social media post. There's been a lot of support."

Hands-On Halifax Community Workshop was established in 2016. The aim is to allow everyone access to woodworking tools no matter the skill level. (Hands-On Halifax Facebook page)

People have offered to donate tools. Money has also been donated, including a 'substantial amount' from a veterans' advocacy group.

"It just rebuilds your faith in humanity," Clearwater said. "There are 99 per cent good people out there who are willing to step up and assist when you've been cut off at the knees."

They will get their keys for the new location they're moving into on Wednesday and they're hoping to be up and running again by the first of September.

Read more articles at CBC Nova Scotia

About the Author

Danielle d'Entremont


Danielle d’Entremont is a reporter based in Halifax. She previously worked for CBC Toronto and is happy as a clam to be back in her hometown. She’s always fishing for interesting stories. Send your story to her at

with files from Information Morning