Burglars rip off local charity that throws birthday parties for homeless kids

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RENTON, Wash. -- Thieves broke into a city-owned building in Renton overnight and burglarized two local charities. The founders of Birthday Dreams say the break-in has been a nightmare.

Birthday Dreams tries to make sure every child in Western Washington gets to celebrate their birthday, even if they’re homeless.

“It’s sad being homeless, it's not a fun thing,” says volunteer Nicole Maes. “So to get a cool birthday party is amazing for these kids.”

Maes is helping the nonprofit organization get ready for their auction this weekend. It’s their biggest fundraiser of the year.

“We are the definition of nonprofit,” says board chairman Chaz Spahn. “We don't carry any kind of balance on the books, so there is no extra money. We live off what comes in.”

Monday night, it was thieves who came in. Police think they climbed onto the roof, and broke in through a second-story window.

“They made off with our office equipment, two of our laptops, our brand new router in a box,” says Spahn. “We share the facility with another charity; they were hit as well. Three brand new laptops of theirs were stolen.”

Volunteers brought in their own laptops Tuesday, so they could keep working and make sure the kids who have birthdays coming up still get their parties.

“This still needs to keep going, no matter what is happening around us,” says Maes.

But there is added pressure now to make sure this weekend’s auction is a success, so the nonprofit can replace their stolen items and keep helping those in need.

Maes doesn’t know if the thieves realized who they stole from. But she has a message for those responsible.

“Karma is a terrible thing to have to deal with. That's all I can say.”

There are surveillance cameras here at Liberty Park, but they’re all positioned by the library. So police say they didn’t catch whoever broke into Birthday Dreams.

Since they are housed in a city-owned building, Birthday Dreams say they can’t install their own security system without city approval. So until they figure that out, they’re having volunteers take the most valuable equipment and supplies home with them each night.

If you’d like to donate to Birthday Dreams or learn more about their upcoming auction, go to birthdaydreams.org.