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Boys & Girls donation jar with $80 stolen in Lathrop
Suspects caught on video camera at Circle K Store
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LATHROP – Instead of making a donation to cash-strapped Manteca-Lathrop Boys and Girls Club, two people in Lathrop ran away with some $80 that was intended to help the nonprofit provide programs for youth.

But here’s the good news: a video camera at the Circle K Store where the donation jar was stolen caught the two suspects in the act. The bad news: the two male suspects are still at large.

The jar, which had a lid with a slot where people can put in their donations, was reportedly stolen around 1:30 a.m. on Monday. However, it was not discovered missing until later in the day when Rosalinda Valencia, who had left the donation container at the store the day before the schools’ Thanksgiving break, stopped by the store to check on it.

“The cashier did not notice the jar stolen,” Valencia said.

However, she said that in the store’s videotape, it appears that one of the two suspects distracted the cashier on duty while his partner in crime grabbed the jar from the counter.

“In the video, you could see the guys outside the door (of the store) debating” just before they stepped inside, Valencia said.

“One guy had a red hat; he’s the guy who took the jar. Both are Hispanic,” added Valencia.

She said she immediately called the police after discovering the disappearance of the donation jar.

It was Lathrop site director Mark McCool who provided the container that Valencia volunteered to place at the convenience store located in the Phillips Shopping Center on the northeast corner of Louise Avenue and Cambridge Drive.

McCool could not be reached for comment as of press time.

The Boys and Girls Club, which has a satellite branch in Lathrop located at Lathrop Elementary School on Fifth Street in the town’s historic district, needed $120,000 to run the programs at its two sites during the coming year. Last week’s two-day annual telethon, which is the youth organization’s biggest fund-raiser of the year, failed to yield that target amount but managed to collect more than $94,000 in pledges and donations.

The Lathrop Boys and Girls Club, which has a membership of 250 youngsters, needs $30,000 a year to operate the program. The main site in Manteca has 1,500 youth members.