Karen Pomroy says she has wanted to start a thrift store for a couple of years now to fund her non-profit Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary.
For the last year, she had been collecting donations to finally get the store off the ground. But two weeks ago, someone broke into her storage unit at a nearby facility.
"They pretty much ransacked the unit," she said.
The thieves took thousands of dollars worth of household items, according to Pomroy, including china and a $2,500 surround sound system.
"You just kind of feel violated," said Pomroy. "And then my heart also goes out to the donors that donated the items to help us get started and as a charity, this organization is costing about $40,000 a month to run. We're always looking for ways to become a little more sustainable."
Pomroy founded the rescue in 2004 to save Premarin horses. She says Premarin is a drug women take during menopause and it's made from the urine of pregnant horses.
"Since then we have rescued horses used in the illegal drug trade, horses that are abused, abandoned, starved and we're also now rescuing donkeys," she said.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident and says Pomroy's storage locker was one of several broken into at the Amado facility sometime between 7:00 p.m. on March 30 and 6:00 a.m. on March 31.
Detectives found tire tracks, footprints and fingerprints at the scene and DNA was taken from several objects found in the nearby desert.
Detectives say there was some damage to the perimeter fencing and a ladder was found propped up at the back of the facility leading into the desert. The Sheriff's Department is also reviewing footage found on a game camera.
"They probably should really think about how they impacted us," said Pomroy referring to the thieves. "Especially as a non-profit organization because they really did have a negative effect on what we're trying to accomplish here."
Pomroy says they plan to open the thrift store in September. It will be located across from Wisdom's Cafe in Tumacacori, along the I-19 Frontage Road south of the Tubac exit.
She says their most valuable items were stolen, but they were also storing less valuable items at the rescue. She says the thieves took more than half of what they planned to open the store with so they are hoping for more donations.
Items can be donated by calling 520-398-2814 or emailing email@example.com. She says they are looking for higher-end, gently used items. And she says anything with a western flair is a bonus.
Pomroy says they are also looking for volunteers to help run the thrift store once it's opened.