A thief broke into the Humane Society of North Central Florida (HSNCF) just before business hours Wednesday morning and stole the donation jars in the reception area.
The incident occurred after the gate was unlocked at 7:30 a.m. Before the reception area officially opened at 8 a.m., the suspect broke through the door, according to HSNCF advancement director Margot DeConna.
“It was around 7:45 when the staff were clocking in when (the suspect) grabbed the donation jars,” DeConna said. “We think they heard the staff around the corner and took off. We don’t know how much money they took.”
The suspect broke the front door and fled the scene. HSNCF asked for donations to cover the cost of the broken door and, according to its Facebook page, have raised more than $10,650 so far.
DeConna said HSNCF will add additional cameras and security measures to keep this from happening again.
The incident occurred a day after an HSNCF receptionist was threatened with gun violence.
“We had a customer dropping off their dog for a spay or neuter and his wife had given him wrong information, and he threatened to come back and shoot the receptionist,” DeConna said, adding the receptionist is pursuing charges.
DeConna said she doesn’t believe the Tuesday threat and the Wednesday donation jar thefts are related, saying the priority now is to create a safe environment for the HSNCF staff and volunteers.
She is also grateful for the outpouring of support following the break-in.
“Folks have been stopping by dropping off goodies for the staff and donating online,” DeConna said. “The community has really stepped up and embraced us.”
The Gainesville Police Department (GPD) is investigating the break-in. GPD spokesperson Graham Glover said in an email that the department would relay information if a suspect is arrested.