Donation box stolen from nonprofit Operation Wildlife - KCTV5

Donation box stolen from nonprofit Operation Wildlife

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It's currently not known how much money was in the box at the time it was stolen. (Kimo Hood/KCTV) It's currently not known how much money was in the box at the time it was stolen. (Kimo Hood/KCTV)
LINWOOD, KS (KCTV) -

Someone stole an entire donation box from Operation Wildlife, a nonprofit that rehabilitates injured or orphaned animals ranging from bald eagles to bobcats.

The crime took much-needed funds from an organization that relies entirely on donations to exist.

For 20 years, they had the donation box sitting on their front counter. That was, up until Thursday.

"We never thought that it would be an issue,” said Operation Wildlife’s executive director, Diane Johnson. “Some people have said, ‘That's really naive of you.’ Well, I guess I like being naive and thinking that the world isn't such a rotten place."

Johnson isn't a pessimist. Instead, she lives for moments like releasing a bobcat that she and volunteers helped rehabilitate.

Nursing wildlife with a slim chance of survival back to health takes a dedicated staff and donations. 

They believe every animal has its place and purpose, including a displaced bat.

“They can eat up to 1,500 mosquitos every night,” Johnson said. “They are really good for insect control.”

They don't know just how much money was inside the box at the time it was stolen.

“It makes you angry,” Johnson said. “Our organization cares for things that can't care for themselves. We are surrounded by people who are caring, giving, and trusting. To have someone take advantage of that, that sort of rattled my faith in humanity a little bit.”

Most animals brought to Operation Wildlife have traumatic injuries and need specialized care.

“They've flown into windows,” Johnson explained. “They've been hit by cars. They've been shot illegally.”

They help injured wildlife learn how to fly again and gather food or hunt so they can eventually survive on their own.

That's why the theft of donations used to help that cause is so infuriating.

“It is a slap in the face,” Johnson said. “It really is. What would really make up for it is for the person who stole it to bring the box back and say, ‘Hey, I'm sorry.’”

Due to the theft, if you recently donated to Operation Wildlife using a check, they ask that you keep a close eye on your account and report any suspicious activity.

If you would like to donate to the nonprofit online, click here.

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