Thieves target Durham non-profit that helps those with severe mental illness

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Vandals broke into a Durham non-profit last month and stole nearly $4,000 worth of items.

"It's a lot for an agency of our size to have to financially manage," said Elizabeth Barber, Executive Director of Threshold in East Durham. "We are a recovery program for adults with severe and persistent mental illness so they come here to gain employment, to work on their prevocational skills and to develop community together."

Thieves broke their gate and took two catalytic converters from their buses as well as donated lawn equipment.

"It's really disappointing," Barber said. "It made me angry and I'm frustrated."

The break-in happened over Easter weekend. Barber made the discovery herself and has since filed a police report.

"We went to start one of them for our social activity that was going on that Saturday and as soon as I started the vehicle, I could tell there was something wrong from the sound of it," she said. "We're lucky it could've been more. They could've damaged the other two vehicles as well."

ABC11 documented the struggles of other community organizations in Durham like the Boys & Girls Club after their catalytic converters were targeted recently. Several Durham churches had the same issue.

"We're working with a vulnerable population and we have to fundraiser every year for all of our operating costs so the fact that someone would break in here and take property that is serving the people of the community is disheartening," she said. "I would ask them to stop and think that they are harming their neighbors or individuals in need: it's not okay."

The non-profit has upgraded its security measures since the incident.
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