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Thief grabs wishing well donations from Mills mall

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Anyone wishing to donate can visit: http://www.habitatav.org/donate.htm or call 724-337-8347.

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Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 1:21 a.m.
 

Thieves made off with an undisclosed amount of money from a wishing well in the Pittsburgh Mills mall that benefits the Allegheny Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Police are investigating the theft, which occurred sometime Saturday evening during store hours, according to Frazer Chief of Police Carl Toscolani.

A donation box was built into a wishing well that is on permanent display at Toddler Town, an indoor playground in the mall sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and the Valley News Dispatch's parent company, Trib Total Media.

Details on the theft were not available on Tuesday as police were waiting to meet with officials from Habitat for Humanity about the incident, Toscolani said.

Dr. James Legge of West Deer, president of the Allegheny Valley Habitat for Humanity, said, “Anytime something like this happens, I'm sorry someone who felt they needed money that much is taking it from people who really need it.”

The cash donations in the wishing well pay for building Habitat homes and the nonprofit's program “Brush with Kindness,” which helps with critical repairs in existing housing of low-income households.

This the first time that money has been stolen from the wishing well, Legge said.

“An incident like this is a setback for us to be able to serve the people in the community here,” he said.

Jennifer Bertetto, vice president and chief operating officer of sales and marketing at Trib Total Media, said, “The money collected in the wishing well goes to help people in need in the Alle-Kiski Valley.

“Obviously, this is going to make it difficult to help people who need it most until we figure out a way to replenish the money.”

Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or mthomas@tribweb.com.

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