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The investigation into the theft of a safe at a Village of Oak Creek thrift store continues. But the theft has also brought out the best in people as donations continue to come in.

When staff came in to Paw Prints, which proceeds benefit the Humane Society of Sedona, on the morning of May 17, they found the front door open. In looking around they noticed no merchandise had been taken. That was until they went in office area and saw that the store’s bolted-down safe had been stolen. Inside was two day’s worth of sales — around $700.


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.

“I was shocked that someone would steal from the animals,” Humane Society of Sedona Executive Director Austin Gates said following the incident. “To steal from a nonprofit that’s trying to save the lives of animals is just sad.”

But since then, individuals and businesses have been coming forward to help out. More than $1,650 in unsolicited donations had come in as of Wednesday, May 31. And, two people offered to donate safes to replace the stolen one. Michelle Newman, manager of Paw Prints, said she was told by Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputies late this week that no arrests had been made but that the investigation continues.

“The incident that took place is very disturbing and unfortunate,” Newman said. “I can only imagine that whoever would do such a thing was in a desperate situation. I would never expect something like this to happen and going forward we will be improving our security measures at the store.”

As for the donations following the incident she added, “The outpouring of donations from local businesses to everyday customers has been overwhelming. Paw Prints is proud to call the VOC our home. We have the best customers, volunteers and employees.”

Like Newman, Gates said she was pleasantly surprised when hearing of the community’s generosity.

“I’m so grateful for being in a community of generous and giving people,” she said. “It helps to restore my faith in humanity when one or two people do something bad — and in response many more people come out to show support.”

Those with information on this case are asked to contact YCSO at (928) 771-3260.

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