Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:23PM - 314 Views

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Staff Writer

RED JACKET — What took four months and many fundraisers and donations to obtain took only a matter of minutes to disappear, during an alleged break-in at the Red Jacket Early Childhood Development Center (Head Start) in which over $1,000 set aside to take the 3 and 4 year-old-students Christmas shopping was stolen.

“This is about as low as a person can sink,” stated Freda Runyon, who contacted the Daily News about the crime. “My little nephew goes there and his parents are out of work and they were counting on these gifts to help get the toys he has asked for. Now – we have no idea how or what to do.”

According to information provided by Mingo County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) Corporal Josh Endicott, the crime was reported Monday morning but is said to have occurred sometime over the weekend while the center was closed. The money was allegedly inside of a desk and although there were desk computers, laptops and several other items of value, the Christmas funding was the only thing that was of interest to the thief.

“I feel really bad for these kids,” said the officer. “The teachers, parents and other volunteers have worked hard to raise this money and were planning to take the kids shopping to pick out things they wanted for Christmas. Now, the holiday is less than a month away and they’re scrambling to figure out where they go from here.”

If anyone has information regarding this alleged break-in and theft, they are asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 304-235-0300. Your information can be kept anonymous, it is not required that you provide your identity.

“We’d also like to ask that the community step forward and help out the Red Jacket Head Start by giving donations for these kids for Christmas,” stated Endicott. “They’re the innocent victims in all of this. For several of these little ones there may not be other presents under the tree, so we want everyone to give us a hand in making sure that these kids have a wonderful Christmas and don’t suffer because of the heartless crime that was committed.”

To find out what you can do to help the Red Jacket Head Start, you may contact Sherry Dotson, the teacher at the center, by calling 304-426-4769.

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