Woman caught on camera stealing donations meant for veterans

Published: Nov. 2, 2017 at 1:30 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 11:15 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tucson police are asking for the public's help tracking down a thief. A home surveillance system was rolling as a woman grabbed a bag full of donations for Vietnam Veterans of America.

It happened in front of a home near gr ant and Silverbell early Wednesday morning.

The Vietnam Veterans of America said the donation bags are their main source of income.

The victim filled hers with clothing and dishes, but before donation crews could pick it up, someone else swiped it.

"She picks up the bag and goes on, like she owned it or something…like I left it there for her," Kelly Petkau said.

Petkau thought she was giving back to those who served our country, but instead she realized a thief made off with her donations.

"I was angry. I was upset. It's sick that someone would steal a donation for the veterans," Petkau said.

The Vietnam Veterans of America is a national non-profit group she donates to often. It's a program close to her heart.

"My brother-in-law, he's retired now, 24 years. He was a veteran of foreign wars. My nephew is deployed right now in Afghanistan. My stepson just got back from Iraq. So, it's just like you're stomping all over them," Petkau said.

Tucson News Now showed the surveillance video a member of the organization.

"Well I think that's pretty low," Vice President Vietnam Vets Chapter 106, Jim Barnhart said.

Barnhart said they rely heavily on the yellow bag donations to stay afloat. The clothing and items are sold at a thrift store on Speedway, and the money goes right back to help local vets.

"We have veterans that have problems with water. They need help paying their water bill, paying their rent," Barnhart said.

Petkau filed a police report and is hoping someone will recognize the woman and help get her off the streets.

"I hope she gets caught. Think about it lady. Pay some restitution for it," Petkau said.

The Vietnam Vets of America collect the donation bags once a month. The organization said they always leave a receipt at your house. While there's no way to prevent this from happening – they recommend that you keep the bags close to your doorstep.

If you have any information on this incident call 88-CRIME.

For more information on the Vietnam Veterans of America, click here:  https://vva.org/

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