Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Shelter staff bewildered by break-in
Police continue investiga tion
By JOE RANKIN, Staff Writer
Copyright Â© 2003 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.
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SKOWHEGAN â€” The Somerset Animal Shelter is open and operating following a break-in over the weekend during which thieves took off with everything from animal medicines to a computer.
The shelter reopened for business Sunday as workers continued picking up the pieces and trying to replace equipment, medicines and even basic cleaning supplies.
The damage and loss estimate from the break-in, which occurred late Friday or early Saturday, could hit $5,000, Shelter bookkeeper Patricia Nelson said Monday.
"I just can't believe that someone would stoop low to do it to animals that are already so stressed out," Nelson said. "They have had a hard life anyway."
Skowhegan Police on Monday said the investigation into the break-in is continuing.
Deputy Police Chief Rick Bonneau and Detective James Ross said fingerprints and tracks left at the scene are being processed. No arrests have been made, however.
Bonneau said investigators are asking for anyone with information about the break-in to call the police department's tip line at 474-6915 or the regular department telephone number at 474-6908.
The burglary was discovered when a shelter employee came to work about 7:15 a.m. Saturday. The shelter is on Middle Road, also known as state Route 104.
Burglars apparently entered through a side window. But once inside they did a lot of damage, including letting almost two dozen cats out of their cages, some of which escaped through the open windows.
By Monday, all but two of the felines had been found, Nelson said.
The thieves took animal medications, the telephone, a safe containing $425 in cash and $1,000 in checks, a copier, the tower to the office computer, and video cameras and surveillance tapes.
The thieves removed the face of the electric meter, cut the telephone lines, and damaged doors and windows, Nelson said. They also egged the shelter's van.
Nelson said newspaper and television coverage of the break-in has resulted in some donations.
When Nelson got to work Monday there was a man waiting.
"He handed us a $100 bill, gave his name, and said, 'This is for the animals,' and left," she said.
"We've got a lot of support from everybody. They're donating money and food and just backing us up, pretty much," Nelson added.
Another person brought a new telephone, she said. The shelter is desperately in need of medications. The thieves took antibiotics and vaccines, she said.
The shelter is largely run with donations anyway, and can use anything from cat litter and staples to paper and laundry detergent, Nelson said. To help, call the shelter at 474-6493.
Joe Rankin â€” 474-9534, Ext. email@example.com://www.centralmaine.com/news/sto...break_in.shtml