PCSO: 2 arrested for stealing donations meant for girl with cancer


by Jennifer Thomas and Steve Ryan


Posted on August 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 23 at 9:23 PM

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. -- The Pinal County Sheriff's Office has arrested two men suspected of stealing donation jars intended for a 7-year-old cancer patient.

Peter Cardinale, 21, of Chandler was taken into custody Thursday afternoon at his grandmother's home in Apache Junction. Anthony Stuber, 21, was arrested on Tuesday.

They both face shoplifting charges.

“What kind of person steals cash intended for a 7-year-old girl with cancer?” Sheriff Paul Babeu asked. “This is a new low, even for criminals."

Dakota Clark, a second-grader at Walker Butte Elementary School, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in May. Doctors found tumors in her stomach, chest and on her lymph nodes. She recently began a fourth round of chemotherapy.

Dakota's treatment has taken a heavy emotional and financial toll on her family. Her parents placed donation jars in several businesses in San Tan Valley to help with expenses.

Two of the donation containers were stolen and the thefts were caught on surveillance video.

"It's very important to know that justice is being served," said Jason Clark, Dakota's father. "Both of these guys, I'm sure they have a past. I mean, you don't just wake up in the morning and decide to do something that heinous. I'm sure both of them have done things to other people."

PCSO spokesman Elias Johnson said video from the Walgreens at 3111 W. Hunt Highway on July 22 showed Cardinale walk into the store and leave moments later after taking a donation jar left at the front register.

Anthony Stuber, 21, of San Tan Valley, was identified as one of two suspects in a beer theft Aug. 6 at the same Walgreens. Three days later, officials said he stole Dakota's donation jar from the Walgreens at 333 E. Hunt Highway. He was seen running to a silver sedan that had been waiting for him outside.

Patrol deputies and detectives were able to identify both suspects using tips from area residents.

Investigators said Cardinale is also facing arson charges in Maricopa County, and that both he and Stuber confessed to a judge that they stole the jars. They will be formally arraigned soon.