Stolen Fireworks Hurts Fundraising Effort

July 3, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The empty truck "was" once filled with hope for low income families in the form of some $28,000 dollars worth of fireworks. But thieves had other plans. Police say they stole the truck belonging to American Representative Payee Services from the parking lot of T-N-T fireworks in Fresno sometime during the night.

Neighbors on the other side of town called police after noticing the truck abandoned with the motor still running for hours. A.R.P.S. director John Prestridge said, "What really hurts is just sort of ripple effect now we can't do what we want to do. It's just frustrating. We did everything right to protect it, it just wasn't protected."

A second truck belonging to another non-profit was left here in Southeast Fresno, also stolen from the T-N-T lot and emptied of more than $20,000 dollars of fireworks.

American Representative Payee Services says T-N-T is coming thru with more fireworks. But volunteers are still struggling. The thieves also took off with the lights for the fireworks stand. Volunteer Deb Hurst said, ".We have lights inside, but over head lights were taken so now we're just going to swing and see what we're going to do tomorrow."

Director Prestridge said, "You've got some guys who think hey, I'll take whatever I want. You've got other people trying to help the world."

Word of the non-profit's losses spread quickly as neighbors like Carmen Buglia lined up to buy fireworks. Customers hoping to make up for nearly an entire day of lost sales.

Buglia said, "You hear about it every day around here, there's something going on everyday here, something going bad, crime what have you. It's just our little part to pay back."


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