Crime

Hattiesburg Red Cross office burglarized as agency provides tornado relief

Red Cross volunteer Butch Jordan of Beaumont hands hamburgers to Coreaner Price outside her tornado-damaged house in Hattiesburg on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. The American Red Cross office on Hardy Street was burglarized overnight on Jan. 27, 2017.
Red Cross volunteer Butch Jordan of Beaumont hands hamburgers to Coreaner Price outside her tornado-damaged house in Hattiesburg on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. The American Red Cross office on Hardy Street was burglarized overnight on Jan. 27, 2017. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

The American Red Cross has been in overdrive since Jan. 21, offering disaster relief to Hattiesburg after a tornado ravaged parts of the city and much of William Carey University. But that didn’t stop someone from breaking into the charity’s Hattiesburg office overnight Friday and taking cash and electronics.

John McFarland, executive director of the American Red Cross of Southeast Mississippi, said whoever broke into the Hardy Street office kicked in several doors and took a portable safe containing less than $200 in petty cash, two computers and a few other items.

McFarland asks that anyone with information about the incident call Hattiesburg police at 601-544-7900.

After the tornado struck, the Red Cross opened four shelters that provided 340 overnight stays. The organization delivered more than 24,000 meals and snacks and provided 9,200 relief items such as cleanup kits, comfort kits, tarps, rakes and shovels.

McFarland said the Red Cross also completed more than 600 health or mental-health service contacts.

Volunteers processed more than 470 calls for assistance at the Hattiesburg office, McFarland said.

McFarland says the office is still a meeting place for volunteers despite the burglary.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @Journalism_J

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