Buffalo Irish Center on Abbott Road has suffered a devastating start to 2018.
Opportune thieves made off with $3,000 from Buffalo Irish Center, taking with them a five-foot-tall safe, a yellow dolly, and a cash register after making a brazen dash through a side door left open by maintenance.
The safe and register were taken and cash from a further cash register the thieves damaged was taken as a maintenance man was in the library of the center. They are believed to have entered through a damaged door and using the dolly to transport the heavy black safe.
“The theft occurred very early Saturday morning and the impact will be felt for a long time,” BIC chairperson Mary Heneghan told IrishCentral.
"The Buffalo Irish Center struggles to keep its doors open and this makes it even more difficult for us to do so."
Entering the Irish community center, which caters to the Irish-American community of Buffalo and Western New York, at around 2am on Saturday, January 6, police were able to track the thieves a short distance down Robin Street following the tracks made by the dolly before any trace disappeared. Buffalo police are currently checking security footage from surrounding businesses as part of the investigation. It is yet unknown whether a thief acted alone or if a group was involved.
Located on 245 Abbott Road, the Buffalo Irish Center was founded in 1970 by St. Patrick's GAA and the Knights of Equity, today serving over a dozen Irish organizations in the locality and their members.
Over the past few year, the Irish center has hosted a Go Fund Me campaign in order to make restorations and improvements to the building and to keep it in good repair for future generations. The center’s original goal for 2018 was $10,000 but this could be impacted drastically with the loss of $3000 in such unfortunate circumstances early in the year.
"It was a rough start to the New Year but our dedicated volunteers will continue their work to keep this Irish Heritage center open despite the theft of funds and historical documents," Heneghan continued.
"It is truly heartbreaking to see this small non-profit targeted in such a manner."
Serving west New York for 47 years, she advises that anybody who wants to help in keeping the center and its traditions alive is welcome to stop in for pub food and music, book an event in the banquet rooms, or to donate to their campaign.
You can donate to the Buffalo Irish Center through their Go Fund Me campaign here.