Caught on camera: Donation jar earmarked for Easton 4th of July event stolen

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EASTON, Kan. — Surveillance video shows a store customer walk off with a donation jar for a July Fourth fireworks show in Easton, Kansas.

Kansas City, Kansas, police believe the vehicle the suspect was in might be connected to an investigation FOX4 reported on Monday night.

“Not only did they steal from me, but they stole from everyone in this area, and people are mad,” said Jennifer Kroll, owner of The Hilltop Market.

That’s where Kroll said city officials came to pick up one of three donation jars Sunday, and it was gone.

“They asked me, they said, ‘Where is the jar?’ I said, ‘I have no idea,” Kroll said.

Video from Saturday morning shows a man paying for his items at the register, but then as the clerk walks away, he snatches the donation jar.

Kroll said upward of $300 was inside.

In this current fireworks shortage, Kroll said that was going to go a long way toward the event.

“We were really looking forward to having a nice get-together, and to have someone just walk off with the community’s donations, it was just kind of a sad thing,” Kroll said.  “We were really shocked.”

The alleged thief was in a white Mini Cooper with no tags.

Kansas City, Kansas, police said a car matching this description was stolen, ditched and later recovered.  Officers are investigating if this vehicle has any connection to a young homeowner being robbed at gunpoint Friday in KCK. That victim reported the same vehicle description to police.

Kroll said Lansing police also reached out to her, saying the same vehicle may be associated with crimes in their jurisdiction, too. 

The Lansing Police Department hasn’t responded to FOX4’s requests for information.

“That was kind of scary for us [to learn],” Kroll said.  “You just think to yourself, what could’ve happened?”

Fortunately for Kroll, the fireworks show will go on.

She felt responsible and matched what was in the jar. Then, an anonymous, generous customer helped out, as well.

“He just said, ‘I heard about the jar, and I’m so sorry.’ And he laid a $100 bill down in front of me and gave me a big hug and walked away,” Kroll said. “He just wanted us to know that he was very sorry that it happened, and to make sure that we could still host this event.”

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