As the nation prepares to honor the sacrifice and commitment of those who have served in the military, the week leading up to Veterans Day didn’t get off to very good start at VFW Post 9301 in Lynden.
A Facebook post Sunday on the group’s page proclaimed, “We were robbed last night; the scumbags broke in and stole several things and caused a lot of damage. Takes a low life person to hurt and destroy property of veterans.”
Post 9301 commander Lonnie Rose told The Bellingham Herald Monday that the total losses were estimated to be approximately $2,000 — $600 to $700 in stolen cash and materials, and the rest in damage to the hall, including two kicked-in doors.
In addition to money taken out of a safe, Rose said some of the materials that were stolen were from Christmas care packages that were waiting to be mailed to 30 to 40 Whatcom County active-duty service members. The Lynden post sends out the troop boxes four times a year, Rose said.
It marked the second time the post has been victimized recently, Rose said, as approximately $75 raised from a Growing Veterans vegetable stand was taken from a cash box about a month ago.
Whatcom County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Kevin Hester told The Bellingham Herald in an email Monday that investigators believe the suspect in the latest incident entered the hall in the 7000 block of Hannegan Road through a window between 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday. Some evidence was recovered at the scene, and the investigation is ongoing.
Rose said the window that was used was not covered by the hall’s security system or surveillance cameras. However, “that is in the process of being changed, as are all the locks. It’s created a bit of extra work this week that we didn’t have time for.”
In addition to Veteran’s Day ceremonies on Sunday, Rose said the 126 post members and more than 100 auxiliary members have a number of other events scheduled in the community this week, including at Bellingham Technical College, Lynden Christian Middle School and Parkview Elementary.
“We definitely didn’t need this — the timing wasn’t good,” Rose said. “We have a lot of things going on all week.”