CORONA (CBSLA) — A sanctuary for local military veterans was burglarized by eight unknown suspects early Saturday.
American Legion Post 289 in Riverside County is a safe haven in good times and bad for service members.READ MORE: LA District Attorney, George Gascon, Forms Independent Team To Reexamine Fatal Use-of-Force Incidents
They host parties, steak dinners and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder meetings, among other community events.
Just after 4 a.m. Saturday, over two separate trips, a group of people broke into the building.
After a total of about two hours, the burglars left with up to $20,000 worth of construction supplies, machinery and other equipment used to keep the facility up and running.
“They took everything,” said Michael Buchner, the CEO of Post 289. “Who steals from veterans?”READ MORE: DMV Investigating Luxury Car Dealership In Upland
Since the pandemic caused the center to temporarily shut down, some contractors had been volunteering their time and tools to help with renovations, doing $250,000 worth with just $30,000.
Now that those items and tools are gone, the robbery has put an unexpected stop to all of the work in progress.
“That’s definitely where the anger kicks in for me. It’s just of all people, we’re barely getting by here day-to-day every month, to just have this it’s gut-wrenching,” said Steve Rodgers, the Financial Officer at Post 289.
Despite the theft, leaders at Post 289 said nothing will come in the way of their support for local veterans.
“We know vets have certain things happening that the regular world just doesn’t understand and we’re here for each other,” Buchner said. “Come hell or high water, we’re gonna open by Veterans Day somehow. I don’t know how but somehow we’re gonna make it happen.”MORE NEWS: Latinas More Likely To Leave Workforce During Pandemic, UCLA Report Shows
A GoFundMe was launched to help American Legion Post 289 recover after the burglary.