Atlanta Shriners are steaming following the theft of many of the mini-cars.
As reported in an October 27 posting on dailyamericannews.com, Shriner officials told police thieves made off with 7 of their mini-cars, taken from a suburban-Atlanta storage facility, thus leaving the charity short on vehicles for their big season – upcoming holiday parades.
The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (commonly known as Shriners) was established in the U.S in 1870 and is an appendant body to Freemasonry. Although the group adopted a Middle Eastern theme and soon established Temples meeting in Mosques (though “Temple” has now generally been replaced by Shrine Auditorium or Center), the Shrine is in no way connected to Islam, but rather is a men’s fraternity – not a religion or religious group. Its only religious requirement is indirect: all Shriners must be Masons, and petitioners to Freemasonry must profess a belief in a Supreme Being.
Shriners often participate in local parades, sometimes as rather elaborate units: miniature vehicles in themes (all sports cars; all miniature 18-wheeler trucks; all fire engines, etc), an “Oriental Band” dressed in cartoonish versions of Middle Eastern dress; pipe bands, drummers, motorcycle units, Drum and Bugle Corps, and even traditional brass bands.
Police spokesman Detective Cliff Chandler said Monday (October 26) it appeared burglars broke into the Prince Hall Shriners’ Nabbar Temple’s storage unit earlier this month, and, along with the min-cars, stole a dune buggy, an air compressor and a large tool box.
The stolen mini-cars are valued at $2,000 each. Detective Chandler told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that although the police are reviewing surveillance footage taken at the storage facility, they have no leads as of yet.
The Shrine’s charitable arm is the Shriners’ Hospitals for Children, a network of 22 hospitals in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Originally formed to treat young victims of polio, they have since broadened their scope to deal with all pediatric cases, especially orthopedic injuries, disease and burns. There is never any charge for treatment at a Shriners’ Hospital and the only requirement is that patients must be under the age of eighteen and treatable.
In 2008, Shriners’ Hospitals had a total budget of $826 million. In 2007 they approved 39,454 new patient applications, and attended to the needs of 125,125 patients.