Farmer offers help to business, thief after NE Wichita grocery store break-in

Published: Jul. 5, 2017 at 9:15 PM CDT
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For the second night in a row, a thief breaks into a northeast Wichita Save-A-Lot store. Tuesday, we

of a thief breaking into the grocery store Monday night at 13th and Grove to steal hundreds of dollars worth of meat.

The store's owner says his business was hit again Tuesday night and he believes it's the same man captured on camera the night before.

As the expenses to pay for the stolen meat and fix the door mount, a stranger reached out to Eyewitness News, looking to not only help the store, but the suspected thief, as well.

"We are just too quick to judge. I think (this) is the big problem," Gene Albers says.

Albers, a farmer in the Kingman County community of Saint Leo, lives a different lifestyle than most.

"I'm not on social media. I can send you a text on my phone or I can send you a picture. I don't do Facebook or Twitter, so I guess I miss some of the negativity," Albers says. "That's good."

So, instead of making fun or passing judgment on a man shown on video, who broke into the Save-A -Lot at 13th and Grove only to take a trash bag full of meat," Albers reached out to Eyewitness News to try to do something to help.

"Well, I'd like to pay the grocery store for the meat and the damages to the door," he says.

Albers has never been to the Save-A-Lot store in northeast Wichita, but after seeing the story on the news Tuesday night, he felt inclined to help where he could.

He says he has a freezer full of hamburger and would like to give the suspected thief 100 pounds of hamburger to help feed his family "until he gets all this straightened out."

Albers does not see a criminal. He sees a fellow man on desperate times.

"I just feel like he was in trouble and needed to feed his family, and I just wanted to help him out," Albers says.

He also knows it's possible the man is stealing for other reasons, but...

"His intentions don't matter," Albers says. "I want to help him, and maybe he can turn something around."

The owner of the 13th and Grove Save-A-Lot store says damages to the door from the first burglary cost about $500, and guessed about $100 worth of meat was stolen.

Eyewitness News was able to connect the store's owner with Albers Wednesday night and Albers is donating the money.

As far as the thief, Albers says his offer of 100 pounds of meat stands, whether the man is caught or turns himself in.