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Suspect Arrested In Donation Jar Thefts In Delaware County

By Elizabeth Hur

WAYNE, Pa. (CBS) – A Main Line man is under arrest, accused in a heartless crime.

Police say he stole two donation cans from two stores in Wayne in less than an hour on Monday.

On Wednesday, Eyewitness News obtained surveillance video exclusively that shows the thief swiping a donation can right off of the counter at Gerri Whetstone’s Garden Shoppe in Wayne.

Whetstone said, “To me, it’s like, don’t you have a heart?”

For years, Whetstone collected money to help animals in need. This July, someone stole the donation can twice in one week. So Whetstone installed surveillance cameras. Thus when it happened again, Whetstone turned to her cameras to investigate and caught a break.

“They were two-tone and I don’t know. It just caught my attention,” Whetstone said.

Whetstone is talking about the sneakers seen on tape. She remembered just minutes earlier, a man wearing the unique pair had come in asking for a job. Her gut then told her to check on the business next door and inside Braxton’s Animals Works, she spotted the same man.

Whetstone explained, “I purposely asked him if he had been here for a job because I just wanted to no doubt in my mind that it was him and he said yes. My other employee said, ‘well we can do this easy or we can do it hard, we’ll call the police or you give us the can.’ He said, ‘ok I’ll give you the can.’ Well, he pulled the can out of his pocket and it wasn’t our can.”

Somehow, the suspect had swiped a second can from Braxton’s. We’re told he tried to run away, but Whetstone’s workers tackled and held him down until police arrived.

Maddie Goodall with Braxton’s Animal Works said, “I just think that’s a very low point in someone’s life. It’s very sad.”

David Esnouf also with Braxton’s Animal Works added, “This is obviously a poor decision and hopefully other people can see that and realize there’s better ways of making money than stealing from people who already need it.”

Whestone said, “It’s bad enough when they steal from the store but then to steal something that’s for charity, it’s taking it to a new low.”

Police identified the suspect as 34-year-old Martin Cunningham of Wayne. Police say he’s been charged with theft and related offenses.

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