Break-ins at library and thrift store
The Haines Borough Public Library and Salvation Army both took a hit last week when someone broke into the buildings and stole several hundred dollars in cash.
The break-ins occurred late Wednesday night or early Thursday and involved prying open doors with a crowbar or similar device. Police believe the crimes are connected.
Library conservation assistant Rebecca Heaton, who discovered the break-in Jan. 15, said about $300 was missing from both the cash box and donation box.
Salvation Army Lt. Dave Kyle reported about $150 and a pocketknife stolen from the nonprofit’s facility at Fifth Avenue and Union Street.
Kyle said the thief used a pry bar on the building’s side door, which was locked.
“There is a big pry mark there and a big gouge in the side of the door where they got leverage,” Kyle said. “It’s not like we had it super secure. Who breaks into the Salvation Army hoping to find something worth stealing?”
Kyle suspected the perpetrator was after cash to buy drugs, because valuables like computer equipment and laptops weren’t taken.
“That is the only time that the Salvation Army gets broken into is when somebody needs money for drugs. They need food, they come see us. They need clothes, they come see us. The only time they break in is to get money for drugs or alcohol,” he said.
Kyle said Salvation Army posts across the country experience lots of break-ins, so he isn’t necessarily surprised.
“As far as it being the Salvation Army, I kind of expected it. I kind of thought I would have seen more of it. But as a Haines resident, I’m disappointed because I thought people would know they could come to me if they needed something. It’s contrary to everything I’ve tried to convey to the community,” Kyle said.
Library conservation assistant Heaton said she discovered something amiss when she came in for work.
“At first it was kind of weird,” Heaton said. “My desk was rifled. And my first thought was, ‘It’s not like my volunteers to make a desk (messy) and not clean it up. But it was just ransacked…That is when I thought, ‘There is no way. There is someone who was here that ought not have been.’”
Heaton found one of the library’s emergency exits – the one facing the baseball diamond – had been jimmied. “The library? Really?” Heaton asked in disbelief. “Everything here is free.”
The thief stole about $300 in donations and petty cash. Strangely enough, they left a small amount of money behind.
The library experienced a similar break-in three or four years ago, Heaton said, when a thief came in through the other emergency exit door.
Someone stole a $150 decorative blanket off the wall from the Salvation Army in July 2013.
Heaton said she couldn’t understand why thieves continue to target the Salvation Army and the library. “They’re the two places that are there for everyone.”
Police chief Bill Musser wouldn’t provide more information on the case. “As the cases are still active investigations, we will not be releasing more detail,” Musser said.