Police looking for Grinch who stole Christmas money from sick kids

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

MESA, Ariz. -- Mesa police are trying to find a couple they believe walked into a Walgreens and stole money meant to buy Christmas presents for kids in the hospital.

"We're talking about sick kids. Toys for sick kids," said Sgt. Tony Landato with the Mesa Police Department.

According to Landato, the two suspects went into the Walgreens at Alma School and Guadalupe roads, pretending to shop. When the male suspect got to the checkout he asked the clerk for cigarettes. When the clerk turned his back to get the pack of lights, the suspect grabbed the jar of cash and bolted from the store.

Police said the female suspect in a waiting getaway car whisked the pair away from the Walgreens before employees even noticed the money was gone.

Normally, police don't contact the media for help catching petty criminals but, given the recent events involving kids in Connecticut, they felt compelled to try to catch these crooks as quickly as possible.

"I think we're all a bit sensitive to crimes that involve children these days and it's rubbing everybody the wrong way," Landato said. "This money was supposed to go buy toys at Cardon Children's Hospital."

The Walgreens manager told 3TV that she and the other employees shed a few tears when they realized what happened. They would have rather the suspects stolen store merchandise rather than money for the kids. Now, they hope someone can recognize the suspects so cops can show them how we all feel about Grinches who try to steal Christmas from kids.

"We have a very low tolerance for it," Landato said.

Police said the male suspect is a white man around 25 to 28 years old. He is between 6 feet 2 inches and 6 feet 3 inches, with a medium build and sleeve tattoos on both forearms.

The female suspect is a white woman in her early 20s, 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 6 inches tall with a slim build and blond hair.

The couple was driving a silver four-door compact car, possibly a Honda Fit, with no license plate.

If you know anything about the crime or the suspects, call Mesa police at 480-644-2211.