Salvation Army robbed — again

Adrienne Williams, store manager of the Salvation Army in Gainesville, walks past one of eight nonoperational air conditioning units Friday; all of them were damaged during a break-in the previous night.

Aaron Daye/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 29, 2008 at 11:59 p.m.

Thieves helped themselves late Thursday to electronics and other items at a Gainesville Salvation Army store that raises money to aid the community.

Representatives for the store at 55 NW 23rd Ave. estimate it lost about $80,000 in stolen goods and damage.

"We're here to help the community. Money into the store is forwarded to support the programs we provide for the community," said Capt. Raquel Lorenzo with the Gainesville Salvation Army. "They didn't really steal from us. They stole from the community actually."

Culprits apparently used a vehicle to mow down a fence at the site, went to the back of the store and ripped a metal wall off the back of the store, according to the Salvation Army.

Eight air conditioning units were damaged by the thieves. Lorenzo said it looks like they were trying to strip copper from the units. But they actually did more damage to the equipment than just stripping away copper, Lorenzo said.

The stolen computer equipment and electronics taken from the store had been valued at about $35,000, Lorenzo said.

Earlier in the month, vandals hit the same store.

On Feb. 2, someone gutted one air conditioning unit in an attempt to steal copper and shot out nine windows. Damages came to more than $10,000, the Salvation Army reported.

"Maybe they came back to finish the job," Lorenzo said.

At the time of the most recent break-in, officials had been renovating the store, including adding more security features, Lorenzo said. New fencing, bars and security cameras are being installed. A grand opening for the newly renovated store is expected in about three months.

The store still opened on Friday, and Gainesville Police are investigating the theft.

Lise Fisher can be reached at 352-374-5092 or

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