Edmonton non-profit estimates thousands stolen from donation boxes

Members of an Edmonton non-profit are hoping to identify the suspect who stole money from their donation boxes this weekend.

Sim Senol, director of the Turkish Canadian Society, estimates a few thousand dollars were taken when someone broke into the building on 154th Street and 105th Avenue.

Senol found coins and receipts scattered on the floor when she entered the building around 8 a.m. Sunday.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” she said. “And then the sense of security — you just don’t want this to happen … in the future.”

The building is equipped with security cameras, which captured images of the thief. Edmonton police have confirmed they’re investigating.

The thief was caught on camera. (Manuel Carrillos)

Money was taken from all three of the society’s locked donation boxes, which are dedicated to charity, operating expenses and fundraising for a new mosque. A wireless microphone and other electronics were also taken, Senol said.

She estimated the total losses are around $5,000, though it’s difficult to say exactly how much money was stolen, as the boxes hadn’t been opened for several months.

The society already had building permits for the mosque in the Canora neighbourhood, but just started its public fundraising campaign. The goal is to break ground this spring, Senol said.

“We’re still hoping to do that,” she said. “We’re pretty confident we’ll raise enough funds when it’s time. But it’s just a small portion of it was lost today, unfortunately.”

Edmonton police are investigating the theft. (Manuel Carrillos/CBC)

The Turkish Canadian Society plans to do a security audit and will empty the donation boxes more often, Senol said.

“People learn the hard way that you are supposed to open up those donation boxes on a regular basis and put it in the bank,” she said.

“Money-wise, we’re not really worried. I know people will help us.”

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