The theft occurred in the middle of the center’s three-day annual festival, its main yearly fundraiser.
“In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t that bad, although these days every penny counts. But they didn’t get away with the big money,” McNamara told the Echo.
Most of the festival take is banked after each day. The money taken was the “float” for the next day’s festival activities at the center on Knox Avenue.
The money was in a safe which was taken by the thieves who apparently gained entry through a ground floor window.
McNamara said that the center was run by volunteers who were left felling that their homes had been broken into.
But that same spirit of volunteerism quickly came to the surface in a new way after the burglary.
“There are already small donations coming in. An author has offered to donate proceeds from book sales and a band has offered to play a benefit. There is a bake sale being organized and we are getting calls from people asking us what we need,” McNamara said.
McNamara said the center, a fixture in Chicago’s Irish American community for many years, was looking at improved security measures in the wake of the break-in.