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Burglars steal charity shop's homeless cash


A gang of thieves has been slammed as "despicable" after they smashed their way into a charity shop.

The robbery was carried out under cover of darkness over the weekend at Brian's Treasure Chest charity shop in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

They broke through two fortified back doors and a security gate to get into the premises.

The raiders made off with money from several collection boxes, cash donated in envelopes and the contents of the till.

All the money taken was all intended for the Simon Community, which is desperate for funding to cope with the growing homelessness crisis.

The shop in Castle Street was set up six years ago by Mullingar businessman Brian Fagan to raise funds for hard-pressed charities throughout the Midlands.

Tens of thousands of euro have been donated since 2008 through his efforts and those of voluntary workers.

A former aid worker in the war-torn former Yugoslavia, Mr Fagan became involved with the Romanian Children's Trust in 1995 and Irish charities Concern and GOAL in 1998 and 2001.

He also volunteers with the Simon Community and other charitable organisations. Each year he fasts for 48 hours and sleeps out in Mullingar in aid of the Simon Community.

Yesterday he described the theft as "despicable".

"They got through a steel door then a heavy wooden door and a mesh door, all bolted from the inside. They can't be opened from the outside," he said.

"If they were that desperate, all they had to do was come to the front door and we'd have given them something.


"They got money, and we'll sort things out. We help a different charity every two weeks, except for when there's a major international disaster and we try to do what we can there.

"It's shocking they would take money that was to go to the Simon Community, but since it happened we've had a wonderful response from the public.

"I want to thank everyone for their kindness."