$5,000 stolen from Legion post

A thief broke in and stole about $5,000 from a lockbox early Thursday from American Legion Post No. 24 on 25th Street in Columbus, according to the post’s leader.

The veterans group had most recently raised $2,000 at a fish fry for Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, which helps those with serious and terminal illnesses and their families, said post commander Al McKown.

“It takes a pretty shallow person to steal from an organization like the American Legion,” McKown said.

The post was closed and locked at 12:30 a.m. Thursday, McKown said.

According to a security camera, the break-in happened at 1:05 a.m., McKown said. The intruder, wearing rain gear, a blue sock cap and a face mask, briefly was caught on video before wires to every security camera and the alarm system were cut.

“They certainly seemed to know exactly what they were doing,” McKown said. “They knew where everything was.”

The person used a crowbar to break into the lockbox and a safe, McKown said. He added that the post is sharing the security video with police.

A similar incident occurred the same morning in Franklin, where more than $1,000 was taken from an American Legion post.

“This person needs to know that this isn’t stopping us,” McKown said.

The post donated $16,000 to various causes last year after struggling since fall of 2013 to reopen after being closed because of financial debts and insufficient volunteers.

The next fundraiser will be a car wash at 10 a.m. April 16 at the post to benefit Boy Scout Troop No. 557. Then the organization will coordinate a fish fry and dance April 24 at the post to benefit Turning Point Domestic Violence Services in Columbus.

Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police spokesman, said people with tips about the break-in can call with tips.

Information: 812-376-2600

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.