Thief tore through walls of Elyria American Legion to steal money twice this month

ELYRIA, Ohio - Members of the American Legion Post 12 in Elyria are making repairs to their building again after another break-in over the weekend.

It is the second time this month that the building was burglarized and the sixth break-in since it opened in 1926.

"It's ridiculous," said Roy Holyko, a legion member for the past 21 years.

In both instances, at least one thief tore through two interior walls after entering the building. The suspect or suspects got into an office safe and stole money. According to police reports, more than $2,000 was snatched in the first break-in. An undisclosed amount was taken over the weekend.

"We were quite upset the first time, but we were really upset the second time," said Darell Bishop, the legion's finance officer. An alarm sounded during the first break-in, but not the second.

Elyria police said they're investigating both burglaries, and would not comment on whether the crimes are related and if there are any leads.

"That's what hurts us the most. We don't know who it is. It just ruins us," said Holyko.

The stolen money was to be used for youth baseball programs and veterans in the hospital.

"I think it's an outrage. The legion is an important part of life in Elyria," said Elyria resident George Strom.

The latest incident did not deter the post's Veterans Day activities Sunday.

"We're here for the veterans and that's our main purpose," Bishop said.

Legion members said they're determined to move on from a situation they call "heartbreaking."

"It's a sad thing to happen, but you have to keep your humor up and keep everything in perspective," Bishop said.

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