A Salt Lake City non-profit organization is facing repair costs of more than $2,000 after it was burglarized last Tuesday.
Penny Larsen, department adjutant of the Utah Disabled American Veterans, walked into her building at 273 East 800 South last week to find two large windows shattered and the office ransacked.
"I was more scared than angry," Larsen said Monday. "I had some of my personal stuff in here, and it was all over the floor. It felt like you were violated."
Larsen arrived about 7 a.m. and immediately called police. She believed the burglars entered from the south side, then smashed through her office windows and stole about $500 worth of computer monitors and modems.
But the real costs came when assessing the damage done to her windows about $1,500 worth.
"All the [repair] money will come out of the funds we give to the veterans," Larsen said. "What really upset me is we have an American flag hanging, and they knocked it over like they didn't even care. It's like they spit in our face."
Larsen's non-profit charity organization works with the Veterans Affairs Salt Lake City Health Care System to provide transportation for veterans to the St. George VA Primary Care Clinic.
Every other day, volunteers drive veterans to St. George and back to Salt Lake City. The non-profit owns 14 vans to help veterans with those trips and other transportation needs. It also provides support for returning military veterans and their families. They often cook meals for families and help veterans find housing.
Larsen said her office's windows have been vandalized in the past, and it is common for homeless people to come into the building asking for money.
"This is a bad area," Larsen said. "We do help homeless vets. We will even help them find housing, but we won't give them money."
Currently, large pieces of plywood fill in for the shattered windows, and Larsen has placed calls to security companies about installing an alarm system. She hopes to have all the windows replaced by next week, once the funds are approved by the charity's finance committee. The money will be taken out of the fund being used to replace an aging van. Larsen said her charity already received a $500 donation on the heels of the break-in.
The burglary case is currently inactive pending further leads, said Salt lake City police detective Mike Hamideh.