Brazen thieves target animal shelter, make off with thousands of dollars in property

AUBURN -- A local animal shelter is reeling after a series of burglaries left them thousands of dollars in the hole.

On three separate occasions crooks targeted the Auburn Valley Humane Society.

The crooks prowled employee’s cars on at least two different times at the shelter, getting away with a purse and a backpack. But it’s what happened just about a month ago that’s really hurting the organization.

While employees and volunteers were busy inside taking care of the animals, crooks were outside in the parking lot looking for anything they could steal.

“He drives up, he takes a look, he takes his pick,” said Phil Morgan, executive director at the shelter.

Cameras caught what Morgan thinks is the same person in the same car burglarizing vehicles twice in one week.

“It’s so surprising to me that he’s practiced it so well that he’s in and out in a minute,” he said.

Less than four miles away is the shelter’s thrift store where it raises money to help pay for some programs. Investigators believe the man caught on camera wearing a red coat is responsible for a high-value theft.

Morgan said the suspect helped himself to thousands of dollars worth of rings and bracelets before taking off. Now, the shelter has to come up with new funds to cover the difference all while making sure animals find a new home.

“People that work here and volunteers are very compassionate and very trusting and I think people take advantage of that,” he said.

If you have information in any of the cases please call the Auburn Police Department.