Leaders at Fort Wayne's Salvation Army are devastated after someone stole every item intended for next weekend's fundraiser.
They're scrambling to figure out how to replace that potential revenue that was earmarked to help so many people.
"We saw that the lock on the door had been jimmied open and everything was gone," Salvation Army social worker Jama Smith says.
She is putting the finishing touches on next weekend's big "Harry Potter" themed fundraiser -- "Diagon Alley" and the "Fantastic Beasts" ball.
But Thursday night, she discovered that all the donated items she's collected for a year for the event's silent auction, which brings in the bulk of donations for the evening, had been stolen.
"Every box, nothing was left. And we had had things that some of our kids from the youth center had made, we had had things that our little girls who take part of our Queen of Charities pageant had collected for us. I mean, it was just a room full of items and not a single thing was left. They had completely cleaned us out," she says.
While the decorations are being hung, hearts are heavy, knowing that every penny that would have come from those silent auction items would have helped keep families from being homeless or keep their heat on this winter.
The Salvation Army's doors are open most of the day and evening with volunteers, groups, and individuals in and out of the building for various programs.
So the security system is only turned on overnight.
Smith has choice words for the thief.
"Taking from people who truly needed it, that was something that would fulfill a need that you have. I pray for you. I really feel for you that this is something you felt you needed so badly that you had to take it from people who have less than nothing," she says.
But her faith in people isn't shaken.
"I really believe that we're going to find a way to do everything that we wanted to do to help every person that we thought we could help from the proceeds," she adds.
If you'd like to help, call the Salvation Army on North Clinton Street at 744-2311.