In what was a low blow for an organization that works with children on the autism spectrum, thieves recently broke into the office of South Shore non-profit group S. Au. S.
Audrey Burt and her small team work hard in their Candiac office to provide recreational activities for South Shore children with autism.
For Burt, it's important – and personal – work.
“I started it because my son has autism. He's severely autistic and there were no programs for him. He couldn't participate in leisure programs, so there was a need there,” she said.
The organization grew from Burt's basement, but in October, they moved into a makeshift office.
“Apparently it was the janitor’s closet! But watching our dollars and cents, it's what we could afford, and we pulled up our sleeves and we were going to make it happen,” she said.
Burt was shocked to discover they had been robbed last week. Thieves made away with $400.
“It's a big chunk of change for us. It was disheartening,” she said.
They also took a laptop containing years’ worth of photos and documents.
“When an event like this occurs, you kind of lose faith in humanity for a split second, but then you can't dwell on stuff like that. It would just be against everything we stand for at S. Au. S.,” said Marie-Claude’s Coulombe, director of marketing for S. Au. S.
It was easy for thieves to break in; the door did not have a deadbolt and there was no security camera near the office.
“As a team we're just going to get together and pull through,” said Coulombe.
Burt and her team say they won't let the robbery slow them down – they need to prepare for their annual Autism Awareness walk/run taking place in April.
“I'm really proud of the work S. Au. S. does because we've had rapid growth and we've always produced something for the families. Autism is on the rise. Twenty years ago it was one in 10,000. Now one in every 55 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder,” said Burt.
Roussillon police would not speak on camera but told CTV Montreal they are investigating and are asking the public for help. Anyone with information should contact them at 450-638-0911 or via their website.