"He didn't take from me, he took from those who were in need," says Fred Cook, Director of Chipola Family Ministries. The "he" Cook is referring to is the crook who broke into their facility Monday morning.
The crook pried open two doors, leaving them damaged, and leaving with Cook's computer and money aimed for providing turkeys to Jackson county families this Thanksgiving.
However, he says, he's not letting this break-in keep the ministry from giving back. The community has also stepped up. A local church donated a computer, which is newer and faster than Cook's stolen one. Donations are also pouring in.
However, Cook says he's not entirely surprised about the burglary. "This time of year, you can expect it, it happens," says Cook.
Major Donnie Branch with the Jackson County Sheriffs Office says Cook is right. "We see a little rise in those type of things this time of year between now and Christmas."
The county didn't see a tremendous increase in burglary or robbery cases last year during the holidays but deputies will be out in full force. "We'll have more patrols out trying to check businesses and homes and neighborhoods," says Major Branch.
The biggest thing you can do, Branch says, is to be aware. "Strange car in the neighborhood? Give us a call," Branch says. "Someone sitting by a business that just doesn't look right? Give us a call." He also says if planning to go out of town, make sure to leave a light on. Also, tell someone like a neighbor that you are. It's also important to make sure you don't let your mail stack up and have someone collect it if you do go out of town.
The burglary at Chipola Family Ministries is still under investigation.