LONG BEACH - A man posing as a potential volunteer or production worker at the Long Beach Playhouse instead stole more than $1,000 in cash from the arts organization when an employee left her desk.

The theft occurred on Nov. 5 at the Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St.

According to playhouse officials, the man entered the lobby to ask about volunteering or working on a production and seemed to know members of the staff by name, saying he had an appointment to meet with one of them.

When the business manager left her desk to get mail, the thief took the money and a wallet. He also stole a laptop.

It was later determined that the man learned the names of staff members from a volunteer doing lighting work.

Andrew Vonderschmitt, producing artistic director, said the incident has caused the Long Beach Playhouse to be less accessible to the public.

"As much as we have enjoyed having an open-door to the community at all times, we are now keeping all entrances locked and secured. We are hoping to install a security camera as well," Vonderschmitt said in a statement.

Officials from the Long Beach Playhouse could not be reached Monday.

The Long Beach Playhouse, established in 1929, has started its annual community donations campaign.

This year's goal - initially set at $50,000 - has been raised to $52,000 to replace the stolen cash and laptop, according to Vonderschmitt.

To contribute, go to www.lbplayhouse.org.

eric.bradley@presstelegram.com, 562-499-1254, twitter.com/EricBradleyPT