Belfast Telegraph

Hunt for 'low-lifes' who stole charity boxes at restaurant in Northern Ireland

By Claire Williamson

The owners of a family business have hit out after heartless thieves stole charity boxes.

Police in Strabane are investigating a burglary at Dolan's Restaurant and Takeaway on Lifford Road at the weekend.

It happened early on Sunday. A door and glass panel were damaged when thieves, one of them carrying a bottle of Buckfast, broke in.

The incident was captured on CCTV, which the owners have shared on social media.

Shop assistant Alan Orr said the whole incident was over very quickly.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "On Sunday morning around 4.10am two youths broke a double glazed window and a single glazed and came into the restaurant. In about 30 seconds there was an alarm going off and they started rustling around.

"The only thing they could find was charity boxes. They proceeded to go out the back and carted up to six charity boxes with them. It was all done within 90 seconds."

Mr Orr said he was more disappointed than angry.

He said: "These charity boxes provide a service. One was Trocaire, one was the Foyle Hospice as well as the Donegal Hospice - so it's both north and south.

"There were two boxes for Mourne Search and Rescue.

"It's disappointing because you never know when their friends or family will need any kind of support, so they never thought of that when they came in".

He added: "We have had one or two people ringing in to donate into the charity boxes, which is good. People are just disgusted at how it came about."

Mr Orr said local off-licences had checked their sales over the weekend after one of the intruders was seen with the Buckfast. He said: "The owner is asking people to share it, so more people see it and inform the PSNI or Garda or private message ourselves."

SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan appealed for anyone with information to come forward. He branded the theft "despicable".

He said: "It speaks volumes for the types of low-lifes that these guys are, that they damaged property of a family-run business and a large local employer and made through the restaurant and targeted charity boxes."

Police Sergeant Joni Beatty said: "I am appealing to anyone who has any information about this incident, or comes across any discarded charity boxes, to contact police in Strabane on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 380 of 04/02/18.

"Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous."

Belfast Telegraph

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