RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- A donation jar full of money to help veterans was stolen from a local restaurant back in January and while the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office knows who took the money it wasn’t waiting around to hope the money magically re-appears.
The donation jar was put in place by Gerry Burchfield, a Randolph County resident and Vietnam veteran. Gerry has PTSD and relies on a service dog named Angel to help keep his emotions in check.
The donations he was collecting were to benefit Saving Grace K9s, to help veterans like him also have a service dog. And up through early December people were being plenty generous.
“I was going to leave it through December until the gentleman decided to borrow it,” Gerry Burchfield said. “I have no animosity against him, you know, I hope that the money did not do him any good.”
When the donation jar was stolen from the Barbecue Joe’s location in Trinity, it was Randoph County Sheriff’s Detective Joshua Akines who was handed the case.
Akines is also a veteran and as he reviewed the case and talked with Burchfield, the case took on a whole new meaning to him.
Video from the restaurant showed the suspect stealing the jar. Akines has taken out a warrant against Domingo Daquera Dalmino, Jr. but he has yet to be located. And of course, the money will likely never be recovered.
“Being a veteran, it really kind of hit home with me seeing how much he cared. And he told me a little bit about what he's gone through and with his dog and how much it's helped him,” Akines said. “So after that I spoke with the sheriff and the command staff and they thought it would be great too if we could raise money, try to replace what he had stolen.”
The sheriff’s office raised more than $400 to donated to Saving Grace K9s and Burchfield brought in $37 more that he’s collected recently.
Brigette Dean, of Saving Grace K9s, was delightfully surprised at the donation.
“This is huge. This makes a lot of difference. It takes $1,500 for us to put a team through training. This is a lot of money. That is a lot of money to help save lives,” Dean said.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of the suspect in this case, give the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office a call.