Red Herring rummage sale proceeds taken

URBANA — Members of the Channing-Murray Foundation board of governors are trying to remain positive after becoming crime victims earlier this week.

After a rummage sale last Saturday that raised a needed infusion of cash to make improvements at the Red Herring Restaurant at 1209 W. Oregon St., U, someone stole the profits — all $1,230 of it.

And whoever did it was likely someone with ties to the building, since Urbana police could find no evidence of a break-in.

Sgt. Dan Morgan said the money was discovered missing Sunday morning from a cash box in a room that had been locked.

"There are numerous people who could have keys, including people who are no longer there," said Morgan, who added that investigators have no leads, "not even a little bitty one."

But the president of the nonprofit foundation board said the locks have been changed and the number of keys being distributed limited.

"It's very frustrating, especially for folks like me who took 20 or more hours of time organizing and working the sale," said Rachel Lauren Storm of Urbana, president of the board of governors.

Because of the theft and because there were many things unsold from last weekend, Storm said, the sale will be held again this Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with discounts offered in the afternoon.

Items that folks would like to donate will be accepted from noon to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the foundation building on West Oregon Street.

The money made last weekend was intended for small capital improvements to the vegan restaurant at the community center run by the Unitarian Universalist community.

Storm said the restaurant has been a drain on the resources of the foundation for some time and foundation members are trying different ways to raise money to improve conditions there. Other money-raising efforts include an online Kickstarter campaign and a direct appeal to the foundation's membership for cash donations.

"Channing-Murray has been very generous to the community in offering low rates on the rental of the building," she said. "We try to be one of the core places within Champaign-Urbana where people can meet others who care about social justice issues."

Anyone who might have information about the theft of the money should call Urbana police at 217-384-2320 or Champaign County Crimestoppers at 217-373-8477. Information may also be sent anonymously online at http://www.373tips.com or by cellphone text message by sending CCTIP plus the information to CRIMES (274637).

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