Thief steals $2,000 from SPCA thrift store in Freeport


Looking into their eyes, it's hard to believe anybody would want to hurt the cats and dogs looking for new loving homes.

"We live in such a caring community, that we expect the community to be a caring group of folks," said shelter executive director Jack Brown.

But one crook broke that trust on Monday. He allegedly broke into the SPCA thrift store and stole donations.

"He didn't just steal money from this store," said thrift store manager Harold Clem. "He stole all of our time and effort."

Harold says the store was closed and volunteers were in the back when somebody sneaked in through a back entrance and took a bank bag filled with $2,040 in cash. The money was the largest amount the thrift store has ever raised in a single weekend. The SPCA was already counting on using it to help fund its spay and neuter program.

"We can offer a low-cost spay and neuter procedure for as little as $20, and that's a $200 procedure," Brown explained.

The Freeport Police Department has identified a person of interest, but officers haven't been able to locate him.

"I'd like to tell him what a low-life sneaking thief he is, you know," Harold said. "I don't think he needs to breathe the same air that honest people do."

But Harold's wife, who also volunteers at the store, has a different take.

"I hope he needed the money more than the animals did," Billie Clem said. "Maybe he did."

The thrift store did not have any sort of security devices. They wanted to be able to give all the money raised to the animal shelter, but that may be changing, if they have to invest in theft-prevention devices.

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