A quick thinking shop owner and a video surveillance system helped catch a man allegedly in the act of stealing animal charity donation cans on Monday, Oct. 1.
Gerri Whetstone, owner of the Garden Shoppe at the corner of Lancaster Avenue and Sugartown Road in Strafford, told Radnor Patch that when she came into her store on Monday afternoon she immediately noticed that the donation collection can that is always by the cash register was gone.
Two other canisters had been stolen over the summer; the second theft inspired Whetstone to buy a surveillance system in the store. She reviewed the tape and saw that about 20 minutes prior, at about 4 p.m., a man had taken the can, which was collecting donations for The Spayed Club, non-profit dedicated to providing low cost spay and neuter surgeries for cats and dogs in the Greater Philadelphia area.
“What made me madder is that they are stealing from charity,” Whetstone said.
Whetstone decided to check next door at Braxton’s Animal Works, and there she said she saw a man who was wearing the same sneakers that she saw on her tape. The tape did not show his face. The shop owner confronted the man, a 34-year-old man from Wayne, who had been in her store asking for a job.
There was indeed a donation canister in his pocket, but it was not from the Garden Shoppe — it was from Braxton’s, according to Radnor Police Department’s Lt. Andy Block. The man has been charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking, Receiving Stolen Property and Disorderly Conduct.
The last charge stems from the fact that he tried to get away when Whetstone told him she was calling police. Twice Garden Shoppe employees ran the man down and held him while they waited for police.
“I’m just happy they caught him,” Whetstone said. The $27.18 in cash that was found on the man was confiscated by police; it could be ordered as part of restitution if a judge so determines, Block said.
The Garden Shoppe’s canister was not found on Monday, but another one is taking its place on the counter.