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Thieves made off with dozens of bags of pet food weighing over a thousand pounds and worth more than $1,200 when it was stolen from a St. Louis Animal Shelter on Thursday afternoon. The despicable theft was caught on camera.
Three people, in two different vehicles, pulled up the the Gateway Pet Guardians rescue center in St. Louis, Missouri on Thursday afternoon where a huge pet food donation had just been delivered.
The trio loaded their vehicles with more than 30 bags of dog and cat food stacked near the facility’s front door. When confronted by a staff member, the thieves sped away, nearly hitting a woman walking in the parking lot with her dog.
“I looked up and noticed a man and a woman picking up food from our stock, when I came out and confronted them, they quickly ran around the building,” program director Jill Henke told KMOV. The thieves said they thought the food was free, but when Henke told them it was not, they took off.
The pet food was actually part of a monthly donation from Purina that’s meant to feed rescued animals, pets in the shelter’s foster program, and to assist area low-income residents as part of their pet food pantry.
“If they came in and said, ‘Hey, I’m in hard times. I don’t have any food to feed my pet,’ we would’ve more than happily given them a bag of food,” adoption and foster program manager Alisha Vianello said.
Within hours of reporting the theft, local supporters had made thousands of dollars in donations and Purina promised to replace all of the stolen food.
A police report has been filed and Gateway Pet Guardians are asking for the public’s help in identifying the thieves. While cameras were not able to capture the license plate numbers of the vehicles involved, they are hoping someone recognizes the individuals in the video.
If you have any information, please contact St. Louis City Police Department at 314-231-1212 or Gateway Pet Guardians at 314-664-7398.