Employees are in shock after a man walked into a 24 hour veterinarian clinic over Christmas and allegedly stole a jar filled with donations for Philippines typhoon relief.

The incident happened around 2:30 a.m. Dec. 27 at VETS Toronto on Kingston Road near Victoria Park Avenue.

Jonathan Mitelman, a vet at the clinic, said the donation jar was kept in a cabinet at the front of the clinic but that no one noticed the jar was missing until Dec. 30, which prompted them to scan security footage to find out what happened.

“The staff had no idea because the jar was in the cabinet. It was only the Monday later that we realized – where’s the jar,” he explained.

While searching through security footage Mitelman said staff saw a man who they say walked into the clinic claiming he had a pet emergency. The man told staff that his mother would be coming shortly with the animal and when the staff left the front desk to prepare for the pet’s arrival, the man allegedly opened the cabinet and stole the donation box and then left.

“He proclaimed his mom wasn’t coming after all and off he went,” said Mitelman.

He estimated that the jar contained about $400 in donations from both clients and staff.

“It’s despicable. No collection box should have to be bolted down and protected,” said Mitelman. “As everyone knows donations go to a good cause.”

Mitelman said the empty donation box was recovered on Saturday by an area resident who located it on a lawn several doors away from the clinic.

The clinic plans to replace all of the money and send it to the United Jewish Appeal, who organizes the transmission of the money to the Philippines.