Thief steals donations for 7-year-old cancer patient

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. -- A Valley family is in shock after finding out someone swiped a can full of donations that was supposed to help pay for their 7-year-old daughter's cancer treatment.

"I just couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe someone would stoop so low to do that," said Jason Clark.

His daughter, Dakota Clark, a second grader at Walker Butte elementary school, was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma in May. Doctors found tumors in her stomach, her chest and on her lymph nodes.

Dakota, who is also autistic, has already undergone three strenuous rounds of chemotherapy and will begin a fourth on Thursday.

Her treatment has taken a heavy emotional and financial toll on the family.

Jason, a cement-truck driver, and his wife Kim decided to turn to the community for help and set up collection containers in a handful of businesses in their San Tan Valley neighborhood.

But when they went to empty the containers over the weekend, they found one was missing.

"When we walked in, I noticed the collection bin wasn't in its usual spot and the clerk said, 'you're not gonna believe it, someone actually stole it last night'," Jason said.

The suspect is seen on video entering the Walgreen's at Hunt Highway and Mountain Vista Road on Saturday around 3:30pm. He initially walks towards the ATM but then quickly grabs the container off the front counter and exits the store.

"When I looked at it, it's calculated, he had seen the bin before when he walked in Walgreen's, and he had the intent to take it when he first walked in the store," Kim said.

The couple estimates around $200 may have been in the container.

"It's not that much money to some people, but to us it is a lot of money because we're dealing with hard times right now," Kim said. "Anything, a dollar, a penny, helps right now to us."

The family is hoping someone will recognize the suspect and turn him into police.

They have their own fundraising page for Dakota to help recoup the loss. They also have an account set up at Chase under #3018891308.