ST Vincent de Paul has asked for community support after hundreds of dollars were stolen from its fundraising containers at St Joseph’s Church.
Orange regional president Michael Horth said there had been two cylindrical containers at each of the church’s entrances for parishioners for the past several years to donate to the charity’s Christmas appeal.
Attempts were made to break into all six, but money was only stolen from five, estimated at about $600.
“There’s a suspicion it happened in the last week,” Mr Horth said.
“Someone’s gotten in with a big crowbar and broken them apart – they must be very needy if they can rob poor boxes, there must be something significantly wrong in their life.”
Mr Horth said the damage could have occurred anytime in the past six weeks because the lids were re-arranged to disguise the damage and because the crime would have been committed in broad daylight, he suspected it occurred during multiple visits.
The appeal covers hampers and Christmas toys for those in need through to holiday camps for those who could not afford to go away.
“There’s many people that need care and support and Vinnies is there to do that,” Mr Horth said.
He said the number of boxes would be reduced to one at each entrance to the church and would be emptied each Sunday.
“They’ll be left open during the week so they can see there’s nothing to steal,” he said.
While the theft has been reported to police and forensic services were offered, Mr Horth believed they would be of little use considering the number of people who passed through the church.
Mr Horth encouraged people to donate funds via the Vinnies centre in McNamara Street.
“There’s a special button on the cash register for donations and they’re all tax deductible,” he said.