Captain Steve Spencer at the Salvation Army store at Bucasia after it was broken into.
Captain Steve Spencer at the Salvation Army store at Bucasia after it was broken into. Tony Martin

Salvos count cost after 'kick in the guts' burglary

HUNDREDS of dollars has been taken from the Salvation Army Family Store at Bucasia in the shop's second burglary this year.

Salvation Army Captain Steve Spencer was visibly dejected Thursday. Instead of receiving donated Christmas hampers as he'd planned, he stood side by side with a forensic officer while she tested for fingerprints.

About 8.30pm Wednesday, Capt Spencer received a call from a security company telling him the alarms had been triggered.

Yesterday morning he arrived at the charity store to find the front door untouched, but when he walked inside he saw the safe had been broken into and the side door left wide open.

"I'm sick in the gut," he said. "This is not what I had planned today to deal with."

 

Senior Constable Yvonne Gaskell dusts for prints at the Salvation Army store at Bucasia.
Senior Constable Yvonne Gaskell dusts for prints at the Salvation Army store at Bucasia. Tony Martin

The safe in the office was forced open. The tools used, a hammer and a screwdriver, were left on the ground next to it.

When the store was burgled in April this year, the culprits made off with a large sum of cash and trashed the store with fire extinguishers.

The owners of the building took it upon themselves to "beef up security", Captain Spencer said.

It's not the first time he has had to count the cost of crime. Since arriving in Mackay in January this year, he said, the organisation had lost about $15,000 because of burglaries and subsequent damage repairs.

Captain Spencer said on one occasion their truck had been damaged and its battery stolen. The Salvation Army property on Gregory St also had been "hit a couple of times", windows had been smashed, doors damaged and computers lost.

"That's $15,000 we could have used to help the community," he said.

With a bag of food for the needy worth $30 to $40, Captain Spencer did the maths on his phone, dividing the lost money by 35.

 

Senior Constable Yvonne Gaskell and Salvation Army Captain Steve Spencer at the Bucasia store after the break-in.
Senior Constable Yvonne Gaskell and Salvation Army Captain Steve Spencer at the Bucasia store after the break-in. Tony Martin

"That would be like 430 bags that we could have given out in our normal welfare assistance," he said, "... 400 to 500 bags of food that has been taken out of the community - off food on a table, or paying accounts.

"I'm more concerned about the desperation in that person's life," he said.

"Why would they stoop to this? It's a kick in the guts.

"If this is the way the community wants to say thank you for the services that we provide... maybe society is on a very slippery downward slope."

Captain Spencer hopes to resume trading at the charity store on Monday.



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