ADDISON, Texas - An Addison non-profit that works with Gold Star families was targeted by a thief overnight Tuesday.
Surveillance at the American Fallen Soldiers Project shows a group of thieves stealing tablets, computers and other electronics that contained valuable work. The non-profit is known for its stirring portraits of fallen soldiers.
A Gold Star family in Fort Worth was a recipient and calls the burglary an insult to any family helped by this project.
Terry Burgess is the father of Army Staff Sergeant Bryan Burgess who was killed in March 2011 during a firefight in eastern Afghanistan. After hearing about what happened, he says he’s filled with anger and frustration.
"The person who did it has no clue what a Gold Star family is,” he said. “It’s a violation.”
Sometime Tuesday night, someone broke into the Addison offices of American Fallen Soldiers Project and stole the non-profit's computers.
There is surveillance video briefly showing the burglar running in and out. Addison police are investigating.
The studio is where this portrait of Bryan Burgess was created as well as portraits of other men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Beth Burgess, Bryan’s step-mom, says it's like violating sacred ground.
“You just you had no idea what you were doing and how many people you were affecting when you did that,” she said.
The computers contained information about the families who have received portraits as well as the software the artist uses to create the videos and photos given to each family.
"We're going to have to start over and buy new computers,” said Lisa Taylor, director of the non-profit. “It's going to be really hard for us as a non-profit to get all of that done and get it done quickly because we're also coming up on delivering three paintings in the next two weeks to families."
"When Bryan was killed, we never thought we'd have a part of him back,” Beth said. “But that portrait is literally like he brought a part of Bryan home to us."
"Pray for us. Pray for the families,” Taylor said. “I don't want them to be upset this has happened, too. They come visit all the time, so I don't want them to feel violated."
Anyone with information on the burglary is urged to contact the Addison Police Department.