Christmas spirit was thin at Geraldton Salvation Army, after donated gifts were stolen in a brazen daylight burglary earlier this morning.
When alarm systems triggered shortly before 6am, Lieutenant Jeff Milkins was quickly on the scene, to find himself threatened by a masked intruder wielding a crowbar.
“I backed off, he was making it quite clear that he was serious,” said a shaken Lt Milkins.
Donated foodstuffs and gifts were carted away in a wheelie bin by the offender, who fled into bushland east of the Salvation Army church in Ainsworth Street.
Gifts that were donated in the recent Salvation Army Toy Run were targeted by the burglar, particularly those intended for boys in older age groups.
“We had just begun distributing gifts and food to the needy of our community, but this has taken our efforts backward,” said Lt Milkins.
“Damage to the building is probably in the thousands of dollars, it is going to severely impact on our work at this time of year.
“Police arrived quickly and are investigating, in the meantime so close to Christmas Day, we can only plead for replacement donations from caring members of the Geraldton community.”