A jar of money collected to help pay for a headstone for a 12-year-old boy who lost his battle with cancer was stolen this week from a Clarksville convenience store.
The donation jar was taken from the Kangaroo Express on Wilma Rudolph Boulevard sometime between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.
The money was being raised for the family of Gabriel Garcia in El Paso, Texas.
Garcia passed away April 3, 2014 after a nearly two year battle with leukemia.
SLIDESHOW: Photos of Garcia
Garcia’s Godmother, Betty Schlegel, lives in Clarksville and wanted to help the boy’s mother, a single parent, pay for a headstone for her son.
“That’s the one thing she can’t let go of. She wants her little boy to have a headstone,” Schlegel told News 2.
She got permission to put the donation jar near the cash register inside the convenience store about a month ago. She says $150 was collected before the jar was stolen. The store manager estimates $60 to $70 was still inside at the time it was taken.
Store employees are reviewing surveillance video to try to figure out who took the jar.
In the meantime, they’ve placed another jar in the store and Schlegel has set up an online donation site to continue raising money.
Any excess funds raised will be donated to St. Jude’s Hospital in Gabriel’s name.
Since News 2 first reported the theft on Thursday, there has been an outpouring of support from people who want to help.
“I’ve had people reach out to me through Facebook, emails and donations. A very nice gentleman donated $200 less than two minutes after your story aired,” Schlegel told News 2 on Friday.
Schlegel said the boy’s mother was touched by the community’s desire to help a little boy and his family whom they’ve never met.