The donations consisted mostly of small amounts: bills of $1, $5 or $10, along with coins. They totaled $139 and came from two locked boxes outside of Save Our Seabirds, which hold donations intended to help the birds treated inside the facility. But the donations were reported stolen, according to a Jan. 4 Sarasota Police Department report.
The theft occurred between 10 and 11:30 a.m. New Year’s Day, according to the report. That day, a volunteer went to the office to retrieve the money that was kept inside an envelope in a desk drawer. After searching for the envelope, volunteers and staff members concluded that it had been stolen. The incident was reported three days later.
The office where the money was kept was not locked at the time and was accessible to staff and the public, the report states. Approximately six staff members and volunteers were on site the day that the alleged theft occurred, although none reported seeing anything suspicious.
Save Our Seabirds Executive Director Lee Fox, who was out of town when the incident occurred, said she wasn’t sure if the office was left unlocked. According to Fox, the facility is locked at night, but the office could have been left unsecured while a staff member stepped away for a few minutes. The organization will take new precautions with donations, according to Fox.
“We’ve changed our way of doing things, but that’s all I want to say about that,” she said.
Police found no evidence at the scene and recommended that the case be closed “due to the low probability that a perpetrator can be established and successfully prosecuted.”
Fox said that she trusts her staff and volunteers and isn’t sure who would take the organization’s donations. In the more than two years since Save Our Seabirds opened at 1708 Ken Thompson Parkway, the group has never experienced an act of theft.
“I think it’s a shame,” she said. “Whoever this is, I hope that their conscience gets to them — if they have a conscience.”
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected]