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WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 30, 2009, 07:39 AM

Recent burglaries at non-profit agencies effect the needy

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Police fear it may be a sign of the sour economy, the less fortunate stealing from the less fortunate. The heightened concern comes after recent burglaries at two non-profit agencies. WDAY 6 Reporter Travis Skonseng joins us live with the latest.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Police fear it may be a sign of the sour economy, the less fortunate stealing from the less fortunate. The heightened concern comes after recent burglaries at two non-profit agencies. WDAY 6 Reporter Travis Skonseng joins us live with the latest.

This Salvation Army Thrift Store in Moorhead has been the scene of a crime twice since June. The business raises money for the needy and it's the needy in these troubled times who are believed to be the burglars.

Linda Lopez is spending her day eyeing the good deals at the Salvation Army. Lopez is a regular at the thrift store. The bargain hunter comes here about once a week for the last 20 years.

While the great buys help her pocket book, they also help the homeless. Money raised goes to Salvation Army programs for people who need it most. So these burglaries are bewildering the non-profit agency.

“If they really needed something, all they'd have to do is come to us and ask and we would certainly help them out with their need.”

The suspects, still at large, forced their way into the business, making off with about one thousand dollars. That's nearly one thousand meals the agency can now not serve.

“They’re not taking from the Salvation Army; they're taking from the people.”

The Army isn't alone. The Dakota Boys Ranch thrift store in Dilworth was recently burglarized. Police are now looking at if the same suspects are responsible for all the break-ins.

“We usually try to compare different burglaries and see what's similar and what isn't and try to make connections.”

Police say the suspects could be familiar with the businesses, meaning they might frequent the thrift stores. As for Linda Lopez, she says she's shocked a poor person may be stealing from the poor.

“You never know, they might come in and case the place or whatever.”

Police won't say if they're looking at surveillance video or not so they're relying on your tips. For one meal, it costs the Salvation Army $1.50, so these thefts are putting a big dent in its budget.

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