Burglars break into longtime Rutherford County non-profit

Photo: WKRN

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Rutherford County non-profit that has served people with disabilities for 41 years recently became the victim of a break-in.

Last Wednesday burglars stole and caused more than $5,000 worth of damage to Journeys in Community Living.

“Someone had broken into a filing cabinet, stole $250 cash,” Bell said. “They also stole a computer from a business office. They stole three computers from a workshop, and an overhead projector and a couple flat screen TVs,” explained Mark Bell, Journeys In Community Living IT and Development Coordinator.

The non-profit already has to tighten its belt because of funding issues, but the staff said they are not going to let this take away from helping some of the state’s most vulnerable people.

The organization’s purpose is to serve those with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities providing jobs and job training.

“Our primary goal is to help them live full productive lives,” Bell said.

Now, nearly a week after the burglary, staff members are asking why.

“It’s horrible for anyone to get anything stolen from them, but especially a non-profit that spends its time trying to help others; why did you target us,” Bell said.

Like many non-profits, donations are hard to come by, and state funding for Journeys In Community Living stayed the same.

“We take our finances very serious here. We try to use our donor’s money and the state money responsibly, and any amount that’s taken from us, we feel that it hurts,” Bell said.

With Christmas approaching, staff members say luckily the burglars didn’t steal any gifts from the non-profit’s Heart Tree.

Donors will take a heart from the tree and purchase gifts for clients.

New this year is the snowflake, where gifts are purchased for one of 16 residential homes in Rutherford County operated by Journeys.

“We want to take this, you know a negative event, and turn it into a positive and ask people come out and support the Heart Tree,” Bell said.

The burglars are believed to have gotten access to the building through a bay door. Staff members have since taken extra precautions to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Police are also adding extra patrol.

Murfreesboro police are investigating and are still looking for the suspects.

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 615-893-STOP.