Stolen donations almost cost a veterinary clinic its faith in humanity

The donation box showed a photo of beneficiary Kiki, a cat being fostered at MetroPet Animal Hospital through Twin Cities Pet Rescue.

The donation box showed a photo of beneficiary Kiki, a cat being fostered at MetroPet Animal Hospital through Twin Cities Pet Rescue. MetroPet Animal Hospital

The MetroPet Animal Hospital in Uptown was robbed last Saturday shortly after opening. As clients and their pets were milling about, somebody swiped two employee wallets and a donation box for Twin Cities Pet Rescue from the front desk.

Staff member Julia Grim says the clinic is usually pretty casual about security. Volunteers are constantly going in and out of the employees' back room. Clients poke around and play with the resident cat.

That’s why she didn’t think much when she found a man in bulky sweatshirt behind the front counter. He told her he was trying to talk to the cat to get over his fear of cats.

A few minutes later, somebody offered to make a donation. Grim noticed the cash box was gone. Wallets belonging to her and the owner were also missing from the back room. Other clients confirmed that the man in the sweatshirt did go into that room while staff members were working downstairs.

“I was just furious,” Grim says. “I think that’s really low and shady, not just to steal from somebody in general, but to steal donations to an animal rescue. I don’t know what to say. It just upsets me.”

There was about $50 in the box, she says. And although she was able to cancel her credit cards, the theft has caused the clinic to become more wary about everyone who enters.

“We want to be welcoming and open, and we don’t like to suspect people,” Grim says. “We try to be friendly, but we’re kind of all on guard now. I’ve been trying to have a compassionate view of this, like maybe he’s struggling with addiction or mental illness. But at the same time, this has been a big headache.”

Grim posted a little note about the robbery on Facebook under Minneapolis Scanner, a page dedicated to tracking crime and police activity across the city. Soon, a commenter was offering to replace the stolen donations. He didn’t want the clinic to lose hope.

“I just wanted her to know that it’s ok,” says Minneapolis Community and Technical College student Jase Roe, who quickly donated $50 to Twin Cities Pet Rescue. “It doesn’t have to be a loss. Not everyone is shitty. And even that person who did it, who knows what they’re going through?”

Roe says he once struggled with addiction that caused him to hurt others. Now, he works at treatment center NuWay.

“I love Minneapolis,” Roe says. “I love the people and I love the community. I don’t want to lose that. I just wanted her to know that the community stands behind her, and when stuff like that happens, hopefully we can come together and say we’re not going to stand for this. We’re going to make up for it.”