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Break in at local charity

By Justin Boron

jboron@news-daily.com

Disgust. That was pretty much what people felt when they heard Wednesday someone had broken into the Salvation Army in Jonesboro.

"I cannot believe some one would rip off people trying to help," said Douglas R. Holbrook, 66, explaining the charity had given him a lift when he was homeless. "It's sad."

Two windows were broken on the side of the building hidden from Spring and Lee streets where supervisor Capt. José Marquez and other volunteers have been scrambling to raise money and collect enough gifts for the organization's angel tree program. About 350 local children haven't been sponsored yet.

"I feel kind of hurt in a way," Marquez said. "Thankfully know one was hurt. God will take care of us."

Police say they don't have much to go on in the case yet. But interim Jonesboro Police Chief Jim Roberts said there was no entry. He said it's possible the vandals planned a burglary but were scared off.

He said the department is happy nothing was stolen. "A lot of officers here take this very personally."

The incident follows another case of holiday crime in which Jonesboro police say a woman purchased an Xbox 360 for her child, and was possibly followed home, then mugged at gunpoint.

Last year, a food pantry was burglarized, Roberts said.

During the holiday season, Roberts said the frequency of theft goes up, with charities and shoppers having more money and valuables than usual on hand.

"We're celebrating the season," he said. "The thieves are all celebrating the opportunity to steal from us."

The Jonesboro branch of the Salvation Army has been open for about 15 years.

Marquez said the group begins distribution of its charity in 19 days.

To make a donation or sponsor a child in the angel tree program, call (770) 603-6258 ext. 403.