ST. LOUIS — A local pet shelter that was devastated by thieves is now thankful after the community pulled together to help them in their time of need.
"I just think it's pretty crazy to think of something like that happening," said Alisha Vianello, the Adoption and Foster Program Manager at Gateway Pet Guardians in south St. Louis.
Vianello and her coworkers told police two women and a man committed the crime that's left everyone at Gateway Pet Guardians shaking their heads.
"They were just pretty casual while they were grabbing it," said Vianello.
She says in broad daylight Thursday afternoon three people pulled up to their facility in two separate vehicles. Vianello told police the two women first grabbed several dozen 40-pound bags of dog food from the shelter's front porch and tossed them into a black SUV.
"Yeah, it was just after two in the afternoon. They did it slowly first," said Alisha Vianello.
The thieves stole about $1,200 worth of food meant for animals in foster care.
"It's always crazy to me when people will steal from a not-for-profit. They just kept grabbing the bags and boxes of food," Vianello said.
For 15 years, the people at Gateway Pet Guardians have provided food, veterinary care and other supplies to animals left in their care. Currently, they're caring for about 100 dogs and cats.
"Our organization in particular is really special because we work with low-income families in our service area to help provide resources for them to take care of their pets," said Vianello.
Vianello also said during their desperate getaway, the thieves almost hit a woman walking her dog.
Meanwhile, Purina and scores of generous citizens have stepped up and donated lots of pet food to the shelter.
"We have a huge stash now for our foster parents. The community has been amazing. People have been dropping off donations and donating money on-line. We really appreciate everything they are doing," added Vianello.
Now, she hopes police will catch the three thieves.
"That would be wonderful. I mean, we have video with their pictures in it, but unfortunately, we don't have a license plate number of those two vehicles," said Vianello.
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