Local nonprofit’s donation box stolen after members assaulted

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NORMAN, Okla. - A local nonprofit is trying to raise money for medical bills and replace donations, after one of their members was assaulted and their donation box was stolen at an event.

Friday night, the Earth Rebirth organization was hosting a private event for people from out of town.

When a group of people were leaving, that's when the unthinkable happened.

"Everybody was exiting, and a lot of people like to drop in donations at the end of the night, and we've been very trusting with this system up until this point and somebody just decided to walk off with it,” said Andrew Sartain, president of Earth Rebirth.

“It” is cold hard cash.

Sartain said the thieves started handing it out to people in the parking lot who were leaving a private function.

"As I went outside and quickly confronted them, it quickly escalated and, as my brother came out to defend me, about eight or 10 guys assaulted us and it turned into a fight,” Sartain said.

Sartain’s brother was left with a chipped tooth, swollen eye and three stitches on his chin.

Some of the organization’s furniture was also destroyed.

"It's sad, first off, but also very frustrating, because we knew that it didn't represent Norman,” Sartain said.

Sartain said, after the incident when the alleged suspects were leaving, they heard gunshots from down the road but no one was shot.

Police are investigating but, so far, no one has been arrested.

"They attempted to locate some suspects. We're still in that process of interviewing those involved and figure out what exactly happened there that morning,” said Sarah Jensen with the Norman Police Department.

Earth Rebirth, an organization that educates people about food, energy and water, has been at their location for about a year and, in that time, Sartain said nothing like this has ever happened.

"We have had nothing but support from the community, and this was just such an exemption from what we've seen from the city and the people here,” Sartain said.

Earth Rebirth is hosting a ‘Call for Peace’ event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

They also have a GoFundMe page to cover medical costs for Sartain and make up for the lost donations.

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