Local woman says thief nabbed donations marked for disabled military veterans

Posted at 6:50 PM, Oct 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-14 22:09:38-04

The daughter of a military veteran told 10News a thief walked onto her driveway and grabbed donations that were meant for disabled veterans.

"It's heartless," said Tina Villegas.

Villegas' father served in the Navy. Her father-in-law was in the Air Force and served in Korea. Those military ties tug on her heart when it comes time to donate. Her nonprofit of choice is DAV, which operates thrift stores benefiting disabled veterans.

"They have done so much for our country, and I think this is just the way to give back to them," said Villegas.

On Thursday night, Villegas placed on her driveway in Rolando Park: a metal bookcase and three boxes and bags filled with dozens of DVDs, kitchenware and crafting supplies.

When she walked out of her home on Friday morning, she did a double-take.

"I was getting ready to take my daughter to school, and I couldn't believe what I saw," said Villegas.

Almost all the donations were gone.

"That's angers me. I feel violated," said Villegas.

Villegas said there was no doubt about what the bag was meant for -- from the group's name, to the phrase "Benefiting Disabled American Veterans," to the Friday pickup date.

Add it all up and the value of the stolen items totals $700. But it's not the dollar value, rather the act itself that bothers Villegas the most.

"How can you take from disabled veterans? How could you?" asked Villegas.

She hopes by telling her story it will lead others to donate to veterans groups.

Villegas is also urging those with donations not to leave them out the night before.