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Taking charity . . . The Cave Store was one of three businesses broken in to last week, with the thieves not only taking items from the store but also the almost-full donation box for the Air Rescue Trust. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

The burglary of shop items and two donation boxes from the Cave General Store has left the co-owner “gutted”.

Co-owner Erina Hitchon said the February 18 break-in had cost the store tobacco and other items, but the offenders had also taken the donation boxes for the Air Rescue Trust and St John.

She said the Air Trust Rescue donation box had been about three-quarters full and the theft had left her “gutted”.

“You don’t steal from charity.”

A police statement last week said burglars had also taken tobacco and cigarettes from the Fairlie BP2GO service station and the On the Spot Dairy in Geraldine.

Police believed the three break-ins, early on March 18, were connected.

Ms Hitchon said her customers had often given the change from their purchases.

“They’re very generous.”

Ms Hitchon said she and husband, Paul Cronin, had been managing the store for almost a year and a-half and this was the first time anything like this had happened.

“It’s just really disheartening.”

Police want to hear from anyone who saw a silver single-cab flat-deck ute thought to have been used by the offenders on the night of February 17 or early on February 18. Contact Senior Constable Halkett from Fairlie police on 03 6858-400 or any other police station, or call Crimestoppers, 0800 555-111.