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Theft From Fallen Firefighters’ Benefit Under Investigation

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By Liz Hur, Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - It’s being called a despicable act and there’s now a $1,000 reward to catch the brazen thief.

During a benefit for the families of two fallen firefighters, police say someone stole items meant for a raffle to help the families.

The suspect was caught on surveillance tape.

Brian Haughton said, “We don’t know how much we raised, but we could have raised more except for this scumbag.”

Haughton, the owner of SmokeEaters Pub, had some choice words for the suspect who police say stole from three gift baskets that were donated by surrounding businesses.

The baskets were being raffled off to raise money for families of Lt. Robert Neary and Firefighter Dan Sweeney—killed in the line of duty on Monday and laid to rest on Saturday (see related story).

“Neither one of these firefighters is in the ground yet and someone stole their money and it really angers me a lot,” Haughton said.

Haughton hosted a casual gathering on Friday night. His workers wanted to offer their tips and donations they collected to the families. The baskets were kept in the basement.

“Somebody came in, pretended they were going to the bathroom and pulled a knife out of their pocket and sliced through all of the gift baskets,” Haughton explained.

According to police, the suspect cut open one of the baskets then ran to the restroom. He’s seen on tape returning minutes later to remove contents from the other two baskets. Police say he took whatever he could fit in his pockets and got away.

The suspect is described as a white male, 40 years-of-age, 5’10”-6’, 280-300lbs, short dark hair, wearing light colored pants and t-shirt with a light colored, short sleeve button shirt over top.

If you see the male, police say do not approach him, call 911 immediately.

You can also submit a tip by calling (215) 686-TIPS (8477).

Watch The Surveillance Video:

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