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Community Steps Up To Help Family After Stolen Donations

6:06 AM, May 16, 2012   |    comments
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St. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Since a thief broke in to the Outback Crab Shack and stole a jug of money meant for Jesse Stratton, plenty of people have been coming in trying to fill up a new one with donations. But the owner says she can't help but look at everyone who comes in with a bit of a suspicious eye.

"Everyone we see coming in we wonder if it's the person. Because he does have a little bit of a familiar look about him," said owner Margaret Tuttle.

The folks at Outback Crab Shack are adding a healthy dose of skepticism to their menu after being robbed this weekend.

The thief stole $300 dollars meant to help Jesse Stratton, a 7 year old in critical condition.

"He didn't steal from an establishment, he stole from a little boy who needed that money desperately," she said.

But since First Coast News reported on the theft, the phone has been ringing off the hook at the crab shack with people willing to help.

"All day people have been calling about wanting to donate. And especially the amount that was stolen from the jug. And to me, that's a godsend, that maybe there wasn't going to be enough, but now there's going to be plenty, to help this little fella," she said.

The Jacksonville Fire Department nearly doubled the amount that was stolen, and customers in the restaurant have been adding to that number all day.

The donations have been coming in so fast, family friend Cristie Foote says the family doesn't yet know how much the community raised.

"The out poring of love and support for this family and this child has just been absolutely incredible," said Foote.

She says they're hoping for Jesse's recovery most of all, but they also want the thief to learn a lesson from this.

"Wouldn't that be a godsend if he walked up to someone and said I'm sorry, and gave the money back. That would be the miracle in all this," said Tuttle. 

If you want to donate, the family has set up an account for Jesse at Bank of America.

It's in the names of Bradley and Alicia Stratton, and the Savings account number is 898029031767

First Coast News

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