Mojave Desert Animal Rescue is now in need of rescue itself after thieves struck twice in a matter of hours. After the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department took the first burglary report, the thieves returned to finish the job, and in the process, nearly eliminated MDAR’s ability to provide for the basic needs of the Victor Valley’s homeless population and their pets.
In a telephone interview, Annie Lancaster, founder of the organization, said she received a text today about someone needing a sleeping bag. She could not provide one because all of their supply of sleeping bags, along with tents, warm clothing, toiletries and food, was stolen last night.
Temperatures have been well below freezing at night in the Victor Valley and are much cooler near the Mojave River where many of the area’s homeless set up camp. It is currently raining with snow reported in some parts of the valley.
The first theft was discovered yesterday morning. About three hours after investigators left, the thieves hit again. They also stripped the house on the property and stole a backhoe, which they abandoned about a half mile away after a tire went flat.
Mostly, the thieves took everything, but were selective in some areas. For example, they helped themselves to all of the dog bedding, sweaters and food but only took certain brands of preventative. They also left the cat supplies behind.
Lancaster says the thieves knew they were stealing from a rescue. MDAR’s signs were strewn about and they even threw raffle tickets out in the field. That they did not take, they vandalized.
The thieves enjoyed a meal during their crime spree, munching on some of the non-perishable people food stored at the facility. They left the empty containers behind.
Lancaster has spent two years building the organization, gaining the trust of the homeless so that she could also help their pets. The animals not only provide companionship but add a measure of safety, especially for women and children. In order to receive help, owners must agree to allow their animals to be spayed or neutered and vaccinated.
Low income seniors are also given assistance with food so that they can keep their pets. It is a companionship and safety for them as well.
Lancaster is not sure how she can continue without the community’s help. Most needed right now is cash but new or gently used warm clothing and sleeping bags as well as dry dog food can all be used immediately. For more information, visit the MDAR Facebook page.
If you have any information about this crime, please call Deputy Faylor, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, Apple Valley Station at 760.240.7400.
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