Skip to main content

Back-to-back break-ins: Guelph neighbourhood support group hit twice

A neighbourhood support group in Guelph is asking for some support of their own following a pair of break-ins.

The Onward Willow Neighbourhood Group offers social services to Guelph residents who need it most. They assist with food insecurity, clothing, peer support and community programming.

Their services open doors for people but a thief, or thieves, recently opened the centre's doors in a forceful way.

"It makes my heart sick that someone did this because we would give you help if you needed help. We don't say no," said Shauna Brown, a neighbourhood support worker with the organization.

The Guelph Police Service is investigating and they say the suspect, or suspects, were able to gain entry by breaking open the lockbox attached to the organization's door and using the keys inside.

The Guelph Police Service says the suspect, or suspects, were able to gain entry by breaking open the lockbox attached to the organization's door. (CTV News/Spencer Turcotte)Police say the first break-in happened some time between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Sunday.


Three laptops valued at $1,000 total and a lanyard holding the keys were taken during that incident, police say.

Once inside, they left a trail of destruction and perhaps a trail of evidence. Staff say a glove was left behind.

But it seems whoever broke in, came back for more.

"The second night when they came back they pried off some locks," said Brown. "They took gift cards that we had for Shoppers Drug Mart."

Brown says about 200 Guelph Storm hockey tickets were also taken, as well as food out of the cupboard.

Police say that incident happened late Sunday or early Monday morning.

The second break-in doubled the frustrations felt by staff.

"It hurts because you just stole from your community," Brown said.

Security cameras weren't set up at the time, but they are now. Although, it didn't come cheap.

"We had to spend almost $500 on security," said Brown, pointing to one of the new cameras installed.

The sign at Onward Willow Neighbourhood Group seen on Sept. 19, 2023. (CTV News/Spencer Turcotte)In an unexpected turn of events, Onward Willow Neighbourhood Group is now asking for help from the community.

Whether it is food, household items or clothing donations, Brown said anyone willing to help can call 519-824-6892 or email to get in touch.

Monetary donations can also be made through CanadaHelps. 

Since nobody was physically hurt and damage was minimal, Brown says it's back to business as usual.

She understands there is an entire community that needs help so staff are sticking to the mindset of onward and upward from here. Top Stories

Stay Connected