Brooklyn, NY - Video Surveillance Shows Pushka Grab At BP Store; Chai Lifeline Director Denounces Thief
Brooklyn, NY - The head of an organization that provides support to seriously ill children had strong words about the person who stole one of its charity boxes from a bagel store in Borough Park earlier this week.
Rabbi Simcha Scholar, executive vice president of Chai Lifeline, estimated that there are several hundred Chai Lifeline pushkas scattered throughout the New York City area. One of those charity boxes was stolen by an unidentified man at approximately 11 AM this past Monday morning at the Bagels N Greens store located on 13th Avenue near 51st Street.
The boxes are clearly marked with the Chai Lifeline logo, sporting the picture of a counselor and camper at the organization’s summer camp and the words “Fighting illness with love.” Also on the boxes is the slogan “Where there is help, there is hope,” encouraging customers to help support sick children. The boxes typically don’t accumulate large donations, according to Rabbi Scholar, leaving him to wonder what kind of person would resort to stealing petty cash designated for youngsters facing serious illnesses.
“It’s not like these boxes contain thousands of dollars,” Rabbi Scholar told VIN News. “It is small change, which just shows the wickedness of this person.”
Ruvi Deutsch, owner of three Bagels N Greens stores in Borough Park and Flatbush, said that this is the first time that a charity box has ever been stolen from any of his stores.
“We have one in every store for already six or seven years,” said Deutsch. “Over the years we have seen everything. We have seen people stealing food from us. We have seen people stealing money from us. But we have never had anything like this. With some people there is just no line that they won’t cross.”
The entire event was captured on the store’s security footage, which shows a white, bald man with sunglasses on his head walking up to the counter and slowly inching the charity box closer to the edge of the counter as he perused a store menu. Just under a minute later, the man, who was dressed in a red pullover hoodie with a white Air Jordan logo, slips his shirt over the pushka, tucking it against his body and standing at the counter for a few seconds longer before finally leaving with the charity box.
Police could only describe the man as a male Hispanic. They would not say if other similar incidents had been reported in the area but reported that they were actively investigating the theft.
One day after the charity box was taken, a replacement was back on the counter, this one chained to a metal rack holding store menus in order to deter would-be thieves.
Stolen pushkas is nothing new according to Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who acknowledged that dealing with the boxes, which need to be easily accessible to customers in order to encourage donations, a sticky matter.
“It’s not like they are locked up in the register,” said Hikind. “They are easily accessible to customers to encourage donations and for people who are unfortunately prepared to do things like this it is easy to just turn around and walk away with it. A great number of our stores have these pushkas and I think it is wonderful that they do, but this should be a wakeup call to protect those pushkas.”
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