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Thieves target Port Orchard community theater

'Fantasticks' cast member Nash Rhaburn puts up a box where theater patrons can contribute money to make up for what was stolen last Friday.
— image credit: Charlie Bermant

More than $300 was stolen Friday night from the Western Washington Center for the Arts in Port Orchard, when a thief stole the night's receipts during the play's first act.

The missing money was not discovered until after the performance, according to theater board member Cindy Mitchell. There were no witnesses.

"Three hundred dollars doesn't seem like a lot of money to some people,” Mitchell said. "But it is a significant part of our operating budget."

"This was a tough break," said set builder Tina Henley-Hicks. "Everyone here is a volunteer, and we are all giving our time. To lose two nights is a lot, that's our lights for a month."

While the Saturday performance went on as planned, the theater suffered more bad luck when Sunday's show was canceled due to a key cast member falling ill. He had no understudy to take his role.

Audience members who had come for the show were told their tickets will be honored at another performance.

"People can come back but I feel really bad about this," said actor Nash Rhaburn. "They had come here for Valentine's Day, and it was supposed to be a special night out."

The money was stolen at a time where the front of the theater was unattended and the office door had been left unlocked.

Henley-Hicks said the incident will make the theater staff pay more attention to security.

After the incident one of the theater's board members went on to Facebook and asked each of his "friends" to contribute $1 to the the theater. This message was reposted by several other people.

If people respond, more than $300 could be raised for the theater. In this case the excess funds will be applied to the theater's operating expenses.

"We are non-profit so any contributions are tax-deductible," Mitchell said.

On Monday afternoon, Rhaburn attached a wooden box next to a mirror in the lobby where people can contribute. After a visitor dropped the first dollar in the box Rhaburn attached a small padlock.

"The Fantasticks" runs through Feb. 28. For more information or to contribute call (360) 769-7469.

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