Burlington Habitat Restore Broken Into 5 Times This Year

Burlington Habitat Restore Robbed

BURLINGTON, NC -- A non-profit organization known for helping others has become a recent target for criminals in Alamance County.

The Habitat for Humanity Restore in Burlington has been broken into five times this year.

The latest burglary was last week.

The thieves actually took money from the store’s donation box -- part of the money that Habitat for Humanity uses to build houses for people in need.

"That is a low of the low,” said store manager Lilly Miles. “We are a nonprofit and we are a Christian organization. It's like stealing from a church or stealing from God."

The side door where the criminals broke in to the store was still boarded up on Wednesday.

After the first four break-ins the store installed a roll-down metal door to cover the front glass doors.

Things quieted down for a while, but then last Thursday night, Miles says someone busted through the side.

“They pried the metal plate open, popped the lock out, and made entrance into the store,” said Miles.

Once inside, the burglar didn’t get away with much.

Miles says they tried to open the cash register, but it was empty.

Then, they kicked in the door to the Miles’ office and stole a nail gun, two walkie talkies and even took money from the donation box on the front desk.

“What I think about them is that they don't have a lot of hope,” said Robin Wintringham, Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity. “Maybe they don't see they have a future. There is certainly a better way for them than breaking into nonprofit stores and stealing from the donation box.”

Wintringham says they want to further upgrade security at the store by adding surveillance cameras but as a non-profit they don't have the money.

Meanwhile, the break-ins are negatively impacting the organization’s ability to help others.

“It makes me a little sad because every time we are robbed, of course there's an expense to that,” said Wintringham. “Every time there's an expense that we have to pay for that, that's less money then we can invest in our community building houses and changing lives.”

For now, they'll just have to wait and hope the burglars don't come back.

“We just have to pray,” said Miles. “And pray that they catch whoever is doing it.”

Police have arrested one person previously for one of the first four break-ins.

But nobody has been arrested since then.

After the last break-in, officers swabbed the store for DNA, but as of right now, they have no suspects.

© 2017 WFMY-TV


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