Burglar Steals Money Set Aside for Homeless Children, Floods Cornerstone Rescue Mission’s Entire Administrative Building Causing Them Thousands of Dollars in Damages

Lysa Allison looks at the ceiling in an office of The Cornerstone Thrift Store that was damaged by the sprinkler system that was set off by someone trying to break into their safe.
Adam Fondren, Journal Staff

Lysa Allison sat in her office at the Cornerstone Rescue Mission’s administrative building on Friday morning, surrounded by giant, noisy fans working to dry flooded carpets and office supplies moved into the room after a burglar targeted the nonprofit Wednesday evening.

“It could have been so much worse, we’re just very fortunate,” said Allison, executive director of the nonprofit that runs homeless shelters and a thrift store to support its work.

The unidentified male suspect — who was seen on surveillance tapes — broke in around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday and stayed for about two hours, she said. After breaking through a fence, the man entered a partially opened door at the thrift store on 11th Street where he stole and drank several sodas before stealing a hammer and drill.

He then broke through several doors to enter and walk through the adjacent administrative building where he used the stolen tools to break into a metal safe, Allison said. He stole less than $1,000 in cash and gift cards the organization was saving to give to homeless children on Christmas. The suspect then accidentally or purposefully set off the sprinkler in the safe room, which “totally ruined” a computer and phone, damaged financial records needed for audits, and flooded the entire administrative building, much of which is carpeted.

The sprinkler going off triggered the fire alarm which alerted police, Allison said. Police found the damaged safe and took it into evidence and collected surveillance videos. Allison then called a company that brought fans, helped clean up the offices, and moved furniture and supplies around to dry.

There was no more water on the floor by Friday morning, but carpet appeared damp, some walls were discolored, and drying documents and furniture were strewn about as the fans worked to dry the administrative building.

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SOURCE: Rapid City Journal