DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Decatur police investigators said a group that helps local veterans was hit by a thief who stole donations made by people across North Alabama. Authorities are trying to figure out if the crook is someone who knew when the money would be counted by Veterans' Outreach employees.
Veterans' Outreach is for those who served who may fall through the cracks and need the most immediate help.
"Most of them do not have jobs or their income isn't sufficient. We kind of help them over the hump. Buying them food or getting them a place to stay," said Regional Manager Robert Wheeler.
Wheeler said Sunday was "counting day," when workers sort donations made at businesses. Investigators said just before one o'clock, a large white man, 6'4" to 6'6" tall, about 275 pounds, 30-40 years old with a buzz cut forced his way past an employee and got inside of the building on Danville Road.
The workers barricaded themselves in a restroom.
"The gentleman picked up the cash we were in the process of counting and went out the back door," Wheeler said.
Wheeler added that it's disheartening to know someone would steal money meant to help those who served our country.
"These are needy veterans. It's a tough feeling you get when you try to help people, special people who need the help, and then you have somebody come in and rob you because they want your money, and they want the veterans' money. They're taking our veterans' money," Wheeler said.
"It's a real tragedy and a shame when people take from those types of organizations and we would love to be able to put this subject in custody," said Lt. Proncey Robertson of the Decatur Police Department.
Anyone with information that may help investigators solve this crime is encouraged to contact them at (256) 341-4600.
For more information on Veterans' Outreach call (256)353-4301.
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