Local wildlife nonprofit out hundreds of dollars after someone swipes their donation box

LINWOOD, Kan. -- It's supposed to be the time of year for giving, but someone stole from a local nonprofit that helps wild animals. Operation Wildlife is out hundreds of dollars after someone swiped their donation box.

“This is sort of a slap in the face,” said Diane Johnson, the executive director of Operation Wildlife.

The nonprofit cares for injured and orphaned wild animals throughout all of northeast Kansas.

“December is always a tough month for us because we're only supported by donations, so we don't get a lot of animals in December," Johnson said. "Therefore, we don't get a lot of traffic, so we don't get a lot of donations."

But the donations they did have disappeared sometime Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

“We were actually working on a newsletter mailing, and I was going to strap down a box," Johnson said. "I put my arm up on the counter to move it over, to put the box there, and it's like, 'Where's the donation box?"

The wooden box was nowhere to be found. It had several hundred dollars inside it.

"First, I went to the volunteers, and I said, 'Hey, did any of you guys move the donation box?'” Johnson said.

Nobody had moved it. Johnson said she knows it was there the previous night because someone donated then.

There are no cameras, but Johnson said there's no way it was an inside job.

“People that come to work for these animals and volunteer their time aren't normally thieves," Johnson said. "We've been here almost 30 years, and I've never had a volunteer steal from us."

Nothing was broken into; she thinks it was a crime of opportunity.

“I think they probably came, and when there was no one in the front office, and the donation box was sitting there -- it was just an easy opportunity for them to just grab it and go," Johnson said.

She said it might not seem like a lot, but all of that money helps pay for the animals' food and medicine and helps pay the bills.

“Anybody who knows anything about us knows that that money all goes to the animals, Johnson said. "I just hope that whoever took it needed that money more than we needed it.”

You can donate to Operation Wildlife on their website.