The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Yorktown despite the actions of two grinches who broke into the the business of a charity on Front Street last week and stole money and merchandise intended to help families in need.
Donna Simone, founder of Yorktown Love in Action, described the outpouring of support she has received since news circulated about two burglars who trashed her storefront late Wednesday night and got away with thousands of dollars and gift cards.
“It’s been unbelievable. I feel so blessed,” Simone said. “You never really know what your fellow neighbors think of you until something like this happens. I’ve had kids with tears in their eyes hand me $2 and $5. A business owner gave a sizeable donation and someone else offered to help pay part of our rent. I’m just amazed.”
The mission of Yorktown Love in Action, which Simone created in 2011, is to help residents in Westchester and Putnam who need temporary assistance due to unforeseen life events, like loss of job, natural disasters, sickness, and death of family member. The non-profit organization provides clothing, household needs, food, furniture and other necessities to help about 225 individuals annually get back “on their feet.”
According to Simone and surveillance cameras, two individuals entered the building through a bathroom window at about 11:15 p.m. on November 29. They trashed several rooms before heading to Simone’s upstairs office, which they busted into by using a knife. They then destroyed a surveillance camera.
“It was like a TV show,” Simone said of the way the burglars carried out the crime. “If they really needed stuff you can go any place this time of year and ask for help. What were they thinking?”
The thieves stole envelopes with thousands of dollars in cash that was donated, along with gift cards, a $760 watch, gold earrings and a laptop before exiting just before midnight.
“This was for the holidays,” Simone said of the money that was stolen, which she noted she doesn’t normally have on hand but she had been too busy to deposit in the bank.
Simone said she initially thought the robbery was random, but after viewing the camera footage a second time and studying their pattern of movement she feels the individuals were familiar with the location.
“I don’t think they were regulars, but probably visited once or twice, so they knew where the stairs to the office were,” she said.
Simone offered praise for the Yorktown Police Department, which has declined to comment on the crime, and believes the culprits, who also attempted to rob a bus company across the street, will be caught.
“I hope they find them. I’m pretty optimistic that they will,” she said.
In the meantime, Love in Action is appealing to the community to help it recover so it can serve the families who need assistance this holiday season. Any interested in making a donation can call (914) 490-3966, go in person to 1736 Front Street, where it has been located since 2015 after moving from Mohegan Lake, or visit its website www.yorktownloveinaction.com and utilize PayPal or GoFundMe.