ALPINE, Calif. (KGTV) - For the second time in less than two months, burglars targeted a VFW post in Alpine, making off with thousands of dollars and an ATM.
“They caused damage when they busted open our back door,” said Post Commander John Sullivan.
“I am at a loss of words. I had tears down my eyes, not tears of crying, but tears of rage.”
Surveillance video shows at 5 a.m. Wednesday, a black SUV travels up the driveway. Soon after, three masked men in hoodies are seen on the back patio, one with a sledgehammer and one with a crowbar.
Quickly, they force their way in through the back door. Two of the thieves are soon seen dragging an ATM machine by its cable through the back door.
From behind the bar, another thief retrieves the safe. He tries to smash it open, but a new lock proves too secure. That's when the burglar decides to carry it away. Inside: more than $1,600 in daily proceeds and donations.
“I think they're cowards. Speaks to their character … It goes against everything that we fought for, to be here. It doesn't hurt the VFW post. It hurts the veterans,” said Sullivan.
The pain is a familiar one. In mid-December, the same VFW post was hit by masked thieves in a similar fashion. In that burglary, a safe and ATM were also targeted.
In all, Sullivan says there have been at least six break-ins at local VFW and American Legion posts since September, including three in the past few weeks.
“Veterans are feeling anxious. Unless an arrest made, there will be a lot of sleepless nights,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan says he was told by detectives all the VFW break-ins are linked. A sheriff's spokesperson confirmed that the Thursday break-in is ‘possibly related’ to the other ones.
Anyone with information on the recent VFW break-ins is asked to email Detective Troy Udvarhelyi at troy.Udvarhelyi@sdsheriff.org.