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Xmas burglars ransack St. Paul group that helps homeless get back to work

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A St. Paul non-profit that helps homeless people re-enter the workforce is recovering after thieves broke into their office on Christmas.

Small Sums lost more than $3,000 worth of items to the burglar(s), who also trashed the University Ave. office.

The group's co-director, Terre Thomas, says in an email the uninsured losses include 76 monthly bus passes and cards used to buy clothes from Goodwill.

As their website explains, Small Sums helps homeless clients who have found jobs arrange the details – like transportation and clothing – that let them re-enter the workforce.

As word of their loss has spread, Thomas says supporters are stepping forward with donations, adding: "That's the weird silver lining - who would have guessed someone breaking in and stealing things would turn into a testament of how good people feel about helping others put their lives back together again."

Thomas says the burglars broke into the office on either Christmas eve or Christmas day by using a rock to smash a window. She tells the Pioneer Press that after finding no valuables in desks or cabinets, they used a hammer and screwdriver from a tool supply used by clients to break into a safe.

City Pages notes Small Sums uses donated office space in a Cheapo Music warehouse. St. Paul police tell the paper no arrests have been made and anyone with information about the crime should call the burglary unit at 651-266-5574.

KARE 11 spoke with Carlin McGreggor, who knows first-hand how important Small Sums' services are. McGreggor told the station with help such as bus passes or gift cards for clothes "I was able to breathe. Then I was able to say this money here can go for lunch, this can go for dinner. Now I can eat."

Small Sums is accepting donations here.

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