Caught on Tape - Thieves steal from auction to benefit dying children
By: Carly O'Keefe
By: Carly O'Keefe
UNION COUNTY, Ill. - Organizers of a benefit for a rare and always fatal childhood disease ask for the Heartland's help in identifying a pair of thieves who stole items out of a silent auction for charity Saturday, May 12.
This is second year Blue Sky Vineyard has hosted a benefit in honor of Elise Ryne Rochman. She is a two-and-a-half-year-old girl afflicted with Tay-Sachs. Tay-Sachs is a debilitating genetic disorder. Baby Elise won't live beyond her fifth birthday.
A couple folks who won items in the silent auction didn't take home what they bid on because two men had already stolen them.
The men are pictured in surveillance video given to KFVS by Blue Sky Vineyard. They are both white males, one is bald, wearing a pink or orange polo shirt. The other is wearing a white t-shirt and a ball cap.
In the surveillance footage, the men both pick up and look at several of the items set out on a table. They each pick up a back pack that's on display. Only the man in the pink/orange polo shirt puts a backpack back down on the table. The other man tucks a backpack under his arm. The same man in the baseball cap who has just stolen the backpack, swipes a motorcycle helmet that was donated as an auction item. Then the two men then leave the building together laughing and smiling.
Benefit organizers say they're shocked that someone would steal from a charity auction.
"It's terrible that somebody would steal from us at all, but this was a benefit raising money for children who are dying. It's a terrible thing for anybody to do," said Fern Palmer, a Blue Sky employee and Tay-Sachs benefit coordinator.
The good news-- in spite of the thefts, the benefit raised twice as much as last year for Tay-Sachs research and awareness.