Operation Santa Claus has been targeted by robbers in Concord, New Hampshire, and gift cards amounting to $3000 have been stolen, police officers have reported.
Apparently, between November 25 and November 30 James Pechacek, aged 23, forcibly gained access into a state-owned vehicle located on Stickney Avenue, by smashing the window of the padlocked New Hampshire Transportation Building, where the car had been stored.
According to authorities, by breaking and entering into the warehouse, the man managed to extract gift cards worth approximately $3000, which were designed to be used at several retail stores, including Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Target.
The cards had been collected by a local charity, as part of Operation Santa Claus, an initiative which has been going on for the last five and a half decades, with the ultimate aim of bringing a smile on the faces of needy children, during the winter holidays.
Pechacek is also alleged to have snitched several tools which he had found in the van, such as an electric saw, a rotary hammer, as well as a nail gun.
The heist was discovered on November 30, when police officers were summoned at the scene of the incident, in order to assess the damages.
An inquest was carried out, and Trooper Mark Magoon asked the public to assist in catching the perpetrator, whose identity had initially remained unknown.
Eventually, after searching Pechacek’s house, investigators collected evidence which clearly established a connection between him and the robbery.
The suspect was apprehended by law enforcement, and has been accused of felony burglary. The arraignment, during which the defendant was to be officially informed of these charges, was scheduled to take place on Thursday, December 3.
Currently, investigators are carrying out a full inventory of all the items that had been collected by the State Employees’ Association of New Hampshire (SEIU Local 1984), as part of Operation Santa Claus, so as to determine if any other objects have been stolen.
As police representatives have declared, the crime has been extremely difficult to fathom and process, since the burglar had no qualms stealing donations which were destined for underprivileged children.
In addition, the larceny has undermined the work of so many volunteers and charitable individuals, striving to make a praiseworthy contribution at this time of the year.
According to Andrew Toland, a representative of the State Employees’ Association, the organization has succeeded in covering the damages incurred following the robbery, and the amount of gifts that children will be receiving this Christmas thanks to Operation Santa Claus won’t be diminished in any way.
Also, extra security measures have been taken so as to prevent such unfortunate incidents from occurring in the future, and law enforcement has increased its presence in the neighborhood.
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