BONITA, Calif. - Authorities are searching for whoever stole about $1,000 in donations intended for Rady Children's Hospital during a Christmas block party in Bonita.
The bright lights and upbeat music in Ron Komendera's front yard on Cienega Drive in Bonita hardly have him in a festive mood.
"I can't think of anything worse," he told 10News. "I literally cried and I may start crying right now."
On Saturday, about 500 people showed up for his annual grand lighting party. Komendera has put on the Christmas light show with his own money for the past decade. He even feeds the crowd and hopes for donations.
At first, everything was going great. About 30 minutes later, Komendera walked by the donation jar and noticed much of the money was gone. He estimates that about $1,000 was stolen.
"How could somebody do that?" he asked. "It's not only… it's not stealing from me, it's stealing from sick children."
Komendera donates everything to Rady Children's Hospital.
He has surveillance cameras and has handed over the video to sheriff's deputies.
In the meantime, his plastic donation jar will stay out through New Year's Eve. But now, Komendera will not let it out of his sight. Next year, the jar will be replaced with one made of metal.
"When I get through making a new donation box, it's going to take a gorilla and a jackhammer to get your hand in there," he said.