INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Surveillance cameras caught thieves trying to steal more than $1,000 worth of fireworks at a tent in Independence.
The tent, located outside the Price Chopper off Noland Road, is staffed by volunteers who work to raise money for their respective organizations.
A volunteer, who asked to only be identified as Joshua, said the bad guys tried to take off with two of the most expensive fireworks at the tent.
“One was carrying ‘The King of the Block’ and the other was carrying ‘The Godfather,’” he said.
Joshua initially saw two guys on camera with the packages before three more showed up. He was camping next to the tent, ran over and hollered at them to leave.
That’s when he said one of the thieves pointed something at him.
“It looked just like a pistol or revolver, and at that point, I ducked down and the other four immediately ran out the door here,” he recalled.
The thieves dropped “The Godfather” which costs $600, but they left with “The King of the Block,” which is worth $400.
“’The King of The Block” has some cakes, but it also has a lot of mortars, some smaller fountains, things you can get a lot of bang for your buck,” he said.
He said the guys seen on video went straight for the two large items and seemed to know exactly where the exits were located.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say cased it out, but I think they’d probably have been here because there were other things that could’ve been taken along the way,” he said.
He believes they were planning to take more before they got caught and took off in what he said appeared to be a white Nissan Maxima and tan Toyota Corolla.
“They had two vehicles,” he said. “They were planning to fill them.”
Megan Dykeman is the cheer coordinator at Independence Pop Warner, one of the organizations benefiting from the profits made at the tent.
“We’re working with our vendor now to find out exactly what that hit is going to be to us,” Dykeman said. “Whether we’re going to have to pay the retail value or just that cost or if they’re going to graciously pick it up for us.”
She said this is the biggest fundraiser for the cheer team.
“Without fundraising, our program would not exist,” she said. “Majority of our families, almost 100%, rely on fundraising.”
The group is set to receive 20% of the gross sales at the tent. The Child Abuse Prevention Association will also receive a cut.
“We’re expected to gross about $10,000 here this year, which will be almost 50% of our fundraising goal,” she said.
Dykeman is thankful no one was hurt, but she said she’s now worried about the “what ifs.”
“What if tonight I get another phone call saying they’ve come back and wiped us clean? So, that’s just a fear,” she said.
The groups volunteer at the tent plan to add more security cameras outside. They also filed a report with Independence police.