SANFORD — Police are looking for a thief who broke into the Salvation Army office in Sanford over Christmas and made off with cash donations intended to help those in need.

Salvation Army Capt. Erin C. Smullen said a burglar pried open a metal door in the rear of the building at 871 Main St. to get in sometime between 3:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, when staff members arrived for work.

“They used a large tool to pry open the door,” Smullen said.

The burglar damaged a wooden door inside the building and went to the second floor, where a safe was kept.

Smullen said that Salvation Army staff collected cash donations throughout the city on Christmas Eve and locked the cash in a large 4-foot 120-pound safe for safe keeping until the bank opened after Christmas.

“About $1,700 in cash collected in Salvation Army kettles that day was taken from the safe,” she said. “Whoever did this used some kind of a tool to pry open the safe.”

To the best of her knowledge, this is the first time that the Salvation Army office has been broken into during her five years in the Sanford office, Smullen said.

Sanford police were notified immediately and detectives are investigating.

“We are insured and are in the process of repairing the metal door so we can secure the building,” Smullen said. “We’ve also got to replace a metal fire door and totally replace the safe.”

Smullen said that the burglary is truly a theft against the entire community of Sanford and Springvale.

“My greatest concern is not that the money was stolen,” she said. “It’s troublesome that this was money donated by individuals in the community to the Salvation Army to help those in need in the community.”

Money donated to Salvation Army kettles during the holidays is used by the organization throughout the year to help with heating assistance, paying utility bills, stocking a food pantry and paying rent in emergency situations.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Sanford police at 324-3644.

Ed Pierce can be contacted at 282-1535 or at:

[email protected]


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