An 8-year-old Hawaiian girl was the victim of a horrendous theft on Monday when a donation jar was stolen from a smoke shop. The money in the jar was being collected to help pay for the little girl’s life-saving heart transplant.
The couple responsible for the theft pretended to shop throughout the small store, waiting for the woman behind the counter to place her focus elsewhere, before grabbing the jar. The young girl was considered healthy by normal standards until she became ill and was airlifted to a medical center for further observation.
Q13 FOX reported on the theft, sharing that the couple was identified as Jeffery Kleinschmidt, 57, and Kristin Johnson, 45. The pair visited the Smoke Shop located in Puna, Hawaii when they spotted the donation jar sitting on the counter. The pair casually browsed the store while waiting for the clerk to focus her attention on another part of the store.
When they were satisfied that she was not paying attention, Kleinschmidt nudged the jar a few times to see if it was attached and how much cash was located within. It is unclear if he read the sign affixed to the front, which explained what the money was for, before grabbing the jar and tucking it into his pants. The pair was arrested on Wednesday on charges of third-degree theft.
WNEM Channel 5 shared that the store manager was able to identify the pair in a police line up, resulting in their arrest. Jose Miranda was disgusted by the petty theft and was excited to assist in apprehending the pair. He has also praised the community for stepping forward and helping raise money for the young girl, Maddie Tamaki.
“I’m just happy that it’s done. The outpour of support for Maddie has become tenfold. People calling us wanting to replace the money that was taken. A few people called saying they wanted to donate double what was taken. It just was unreal the support that’s flowing from this situation for her and if there’s any positive from this situation — that’s the positive,”
Maddie quickly transformed from a healthy little girl to being extremely ill. She was airlifted to Kapi’olani Hospital when her health became too poor. She has already had a clot removed from her arteries and has had a stroke that has affected her speech. She is now in a Seattle Children’s Hospital awaiting a necessary heart transplant. She is currently in critical condition but stabilized for the time being.
A page was created for her to accept donations and has currently raised over $3,000 of the $10,000 goal.
[Photo Courtesy: World Now]