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When she heard the news, Humane Society of Sedona Executive Director Austin Gates’ first feeling was that of shock — and then frustration.

“I’m new to Sedona but I’m not used to that kind of crime here,” she said. “I was shocked that someone would steal from the animals. To steal from a non-profit that’s trying to save the lives of animals is just sad.”


When staff came in to Paw Prints, a thrift store in the Village of Oak Creek in which proceeds benefit the Humane Society, on the morning of May 17, they found the front door open. Looking around they noticed no merchandise had been taken.

That was until they went in the office area and saw that the store’s safe had been stolen. Inside were two day’s worth of sales — around $700.

Gates said she’s thankful that there was no vandalism and that nothing else was stolen. But, $700 equates to 20 cats or dogs being spayed or neutered or one pallet of food that can last months.

“There’s a lot that goes into making $700,” she said. “For a larger business that may not be much but for us, it’s a lot.”

She said the store does not have security cameras but that it will be discussed at the next Humane Society board meeting. And as she pointed out, it’s more money that won’t be going to help the animals.

“The safe is pretty heavy so we’re guessing there may have been two people,” Gates said. “We’re not sure the last time the locks were changed so it could have been someone who had a key from years ago. Needless to say, the locks have now been changed.”

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office is handing the case. As of press time there had been no arrests, according to YCSO spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn. Those with information on this case are asked to contact YCSO at (928) 771-3260.

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