Police in Portsmouth, England are investigating a burglary that took place at a Salvation Army church office on Tuesday.
Authorities were summoned to the Southsea church office building when a Salvation Army official realized two mobile phones were taken from her desk. An Apple 3G and a Nokia slide model phone were taken between 1 and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
The stolen mobile phones are said to contain vital information pertaining to the maintenance of the Salvation Army in Portsmouth. Investigating officer PC Richard Griffiths said, “Anyone who knows the whereabouts of these phones should contact police or hand them in.”
The Portsmouth Targeted Patrol Teams officer Griffiths continued, “Lives could be affected by what appears to have been a selfish act.”
The phones were the same ones used during last week’s fire at Southsea, which caused a power outage in 500 homes in the area. The roof of Joanna’s Nightclub, where the fire started, collapsed due to the fire, damaging a sub-station in South Parade.
A full investigation of the fire source continues, but police do not suspect arson.
Griffiths emphasizes the importance of the stolen phone, saying they were used “to organize help for those people affected by the fire.” He added, “The information they hold helped organizers have emergency aid teams in place.”
The burglary is particularly disturbing to a Salvation Army spokesperson since it occurred shortly after the organization was so helpful to the community during the fire crisis. Following the fire and the vast power outage, the Salvation Army hosted many evacuees temporarily, and the loss of the phones has hindered the organizations abilities to offer additional services to the community.
“As a church and charity we would very much like to have the phones returned as we want to avoid having to buy replacements using resources that would be better spent helping people in need,” said the spokesperson for the Salvation Army.