Crime & Courts

Gifts donated for older kids stolen in break-in at nonprofit

Officials at the nonprofit alcohol and drug treatment organization Parallax Program were reeling Monday after learning that someone broke in twice over the weekend — taking more than a dozen wrapped children's Christmas presents in one of the heists.

"What this means is that some of the clients' children might not have a Christmas like we planned for," said Kim Rogers, who manages the Recovery Coffee Shop at Parallax's outpatient clinic at 830 S. Hillside.

The gifts, which came from Toys for Tots, were stolen from a storage shed next to the coffee shop and clinic sometime between 2 and 6 a.m. Saturday, Rogers said. The gifts were intended for the children of clients undergoing treatment at Parallax.

The toys were taken from the bag designated for children ages 16 and older. Among the items stolen were MP3 players, boom boxes and CD players.

"They went for that bag only," suggesting the crime may have been committed by someone familiar with holiday preparations, Rogers said.

A second break-in, at the program's coffee shop, occurred Sunday, Rogers said. It's not clear yet what may have been taken, she said.

"It's just a mess," she said. "It looks like they may have been spooked" by a passerby in the midst of the break-in.

"The kids have been through enough struggle trying to understand their parents' addiction and being separated from them while they undergo treatment," Rogers said.

Parallax had worked with Toys for Tots to provide gifts for the children of clients who otherwise would not be able to afford Christmas presents.

"We had 'em wrapped early," she said. "We were feeling good about it... and then this happens."

No arrests have been made in the case, police said.

The stress caused by the thefts has hit clients hard, Rogers said.

"It takes away from the parents trying to get better," she said.

Anyone wishing to donate gifts for the older teens — such as boom boxes, CD players or MP3 players — can take them to Parallax at 830 S. Hillside, Rogers said.