Caught on Tape: Thief Snatches Donation Jars Meant For Sick Children

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- A local Speedway store in Louisville has become a target for petty theft. The victim: innocent children. After someone made off for a third time this month with money intended for the Children's Miracle Network, the regional manager of the store turned to us for results. While declining to speak on camera, the manager turned surveillance video over to WAVE 3's Caton Bredar for a closer look.

A close look at security video taken Saturday night at the Speedway on Brownsboro Road near the Summit shows a crime in process. Recorded over the weekend, just before 3 in the morning, the video shows a woman appearing to distract the store clerk while a man in a dark colored jacket takes a jar full of cash and coins intended for the Children's Miracle Network, a charity that aids local children's hospitals.

Initially, the man moves the jar across the counter, then attempts to get the lid off the jar. Finally, he slips the jar under his jacket, taking it and the money as he walks out.

Speedway officials turned the video from a security system over to WAVE 3, expressing disgust over the nature of the crime. They say this is the third time this month the jar was stolen. The first two instances they're not certain when the theft even occurred.

The third time, thanks to the new system, they know exactly when and how the theft occurred, and they have a clear picture of the man who did it.

While Speedway has reported the crimes to Louisville Metro Police, Detective Phil Russell says crimes of this sort sometimes go unreported and are often hard to document. Still, crimes of all types, according to police, tend to increase around the holidays.

"Most of these are crimes of opportunity," Russell explains. "And money just sitting out on a cashier's stand is an easy grab for someone who obviously has no feelings for anybody else other themselves."

The manager estimates the thief made off with around $40, which would have gone to organizations that help children, such as Kosair's. The timing of the crime -- around the holidays -- only adds insult to injury.

"This is the season where people tend to help one another," Russell said.

But when people try to help themselves to money meant for sick and injured children, Russell says he thinks "people would be upset about this whether it was the holiday season or not. A person stealing from a charity shows very little integrity."

In addition to the surveillance photos shown above, police say they have the license plate number of the vehicle involved. The manager of the Speedway doesn't believe any of the money will be recovered, but he hopes showing the video will help keep it from happening again.

If you think you recognize the man show in the surveillance photos, you can turn him in by calling the crime tipline at 574-LMPD (574-5673).

Online Reporter: Caton Bredar

Online Producer: Michael Dever