KANSAS CITY, Mo. — UPDATE | The rabbi of Chabad on the Plaza, Yitzchak Itkin, invited KSHB 41 into the building Friday to see the damage.
Whoever broke in emptied drawers and cabinets, throwing books and papers on the ground of the office, even breaking some cabinet doors. There was damage to the electric box. They also cut out some copper plumbing which led to water leaking inside the building.
“There were some parts of standing water, but it was just shocking and devastating more than anything else,” Itkin said, admitting he had to leave the building upon finding the damage Tuesday morning.
The Chabad is a kind of community center and synagogue which hosts prayer services, meals, events and more. The burglary happened during the eight-night long celebration of Hanukkah, otherwise known as the Festival of Lights.
“Hanukkah is really the time, we say it’s the shortest days, the longest nights, the darkest times and the response always to darkness is not chase it away with a broom, but light a candle,” Itkin said. “For someone to try spreading a little darkness at us, the answer is waiting for us: just light another candle.”
Chabad on the Plaza has launched a fundraiser to help the organization secure a temporary location. Their goal was to raise $54,000 in 54 hours, but by Friday afternoon the organization had already raised $80,046.
“Jewish people and even non-Jewish people are really good about bringing light to when tragedy or something bad happens and people come together as a community, and I think that’s what people appreciate,” Chabad member Michael Portman added.
Rabbi Itkin said the Chabad will move to a new permanent home as well. It currently rents space at 4735 Belleview Avenue which is listed as for sale.
The thieves did not take the torah, which Itkin said is the most precious item in the Chabad.
ORIGINAL STORY | Kansas City, Missouri, police officers were sent to check on a prowler early Thursday and found a broken window but no sign of a burglar at Chabad on the Plaza.
A person called police about 1:20 a.m. and said there was a black SUV parked near the Chabad at 4735 Belleview Ave.
The caller also said he heard glass breaking, according to a police report.
Officers found a broken window on the north side of the building and broken glass on the ground.
Police aren't sure if anyone got into the building, which was vacant at the time, according to the report.
A black SUV was spotted driving east on West 48th Street and Belleview Avenue, the report states.
Police tried to contact the occupants of the SUV, but it sped away from the scene.
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.
All calls are kept confidential.
For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.