Stealing Money From the Poor - NBC 7 San Diego

Stealing Money From the Poor

A real life Grinch has targeted a local community



    In this season of giving, someone burglarized the Church of Saint Luke in Rancho San Diego.

    Every year inside the church is a tree they call the giving tree.

    "We've been doing this for 16 years," said Youth Minister Jane CruzAlfano.

    This year, unfortunately, it turned out to be more of a taking tree.

    Stealing Money From the Poor

    [DGO] Stealing Money From the Poor
    A local church is robbed of money meant for the poor, but a nearby high school comes to the rescue.
    (Published Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010)

    " I said, don't be teasing me, it's there," said Cruz Alfano.

    Sometime between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, someone walked into the church and stole a locked box full of gift cards and money meant for less fortunate families.

    "I was heart broken because I know how much work goes into this," said Cruz Alfano.

    The Youth Minister said they filed a report, never expecting to catch anyone and still haven't. She also never expected the kind of response they received.

    "This is a tough kind of character lesson to teach kids that this kind of stuff does exist and we just kind of rapidly mobilized," said Valhalla High School Teacher Jonathan Owens.

    Cruz Alfano says community members have written checks. One of them was for $1,000. Another family decided to forego its own Christmas.

    "As a family, they decided to take that money and purchase gift cards to replace some of the gift cards that were stolen," said Cruz Alfano.  "So, yes, my initial reaction other than shock and grave disappointment was how blessed we are… to me, that's what this is all about. That's the best Christmas present I could receive."

    It turns out the most important thing under that tree has been there all along.

    "That's where we find the spirit of Christmas. So, to me, it's alive and well here," said Cruz Alfano.