Reporting John Lauritsen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minneapolis store known for helping the poor is now in need of its own help after a bold burglary.
Police say thieves punched through the wooden wall of St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store to get inside. The thieves then broke into two other rooms before stealing a safe that weighed more than 100 pounds and contained $1,000. It happened around 3:00 a.m. Sunday.
The thieves carried the safe through an emergency door. They did this all before police had a chance to respond to the alarm the they set off.
Wayne Bugg, the store’s manager, said the thieves not only stole store, they took from the community’s poor.
“Essentially, it wasn’t stealing from the store, it was stealing from the poor that they helped,” Bugg said. “I guess that’s the saddest part about it all.”
Bugg has worked at the store for 15 years, and he credits it for helping him get his life back together. He said the store sells donated clothing and household items, and that it donates its proceeds to food shelves.
The robbery has struck Bugg personally.
“I feel violated. I feel like my own home was broken into,” he said.
Bugg was hoping the surveillance camera would get a good shot of whoever broke in to the store. But the robbers also stole the surveillance tape. The restaurant across the alley has a surveillance camera, but it wasn’t working that morning.
For an organization already willing to give, having thieves break in such a brazen fashion is what makes this so hard to accept.
Ed Koerner, the store’s executive director, said the $1,000 the robbers stole could have fed 50 people for two weeks.
Koerner also said the robbery couldn’t have come at a worse time, because donations are down this year.
If you know anything about the robbery, call Minneapolis police at 612-692-8477.