Congregants at a small mosque in Mississauga say a crafty thief manipulated their security cameras to avoid detection and took a safe that contains all of their most recent donations sometime overnight.

Shoaib Yousuf of the Qasim ul-Uloom Islamic Centre near Queen Street and Britannia Road says that when several people arrived at the mosque early Tuesday morning for Fajr, or dawn prayer, at 5:30 a.m., they found items strewn about in the mosque’s office.

Yousuf said the office is normally locked but its door was wide open.

A safe containing cash, cheques, cheque books and other permits and CRA documents is missing.

Yousuf said he knows there is little chance the mosque will get its money back, but wants the documents back, as they concern the organization’s tax status as a religious institution.

“They are pretty important, we’re going to probably have to get a copy of those, I’m not even sure what the procedure is,” Yousuf told CTV Toronto.

In one corner of the mosque, a broomstick could be seen sticking out of the ceiling. Congregants suspect the broom was used to push a security camera to the side so whoever stole the safe would no longer be caught in its field of view.

The approximate value of the contents of the safe is not known.

Yousuf appealed to whoever stole the safe to return any postdated cheques made out to the mosque, as they are of no use to the thief.

He said members of the community are sad someone penetrated a place so important to them.

“It does hurt everybody. It’s a small community — it’s like a home to us. “

Peel Regional Police have been notified about the theft and are expected to attend the scene later today.