Brazen thief steals charity tin

A charity founder has asked consumers to help identify a thief who walked into a Priceline pharmacy recently and stole a collection tin while having a prescription filled.

The tin was placed in the pharmacy by the Friends of Sammy Joe Foundation, which is raising funds to help people living with trichothiodystrophy (TTD), a rare genetic disorder that involved physical and developmental disorders, abnormal brittle hair and icthyosis.

It also can involve ataxia, stunted growth, and skin sensitivity to light and UV rays.

The charity was founded by Craigieburn local Maria Liistro, the mother of 27-year-old Sammy Joe (both pictured). The family are regulars at the Craigieburn Priceline Pharmacy.

Liistro posted on the charity’s Facebook page asking for help identifying the thief.

“Essentially the charity tin was chained to the counter, and someone brought in a prescription,” Craigieburn Priceline Pharmacy co-owner Lewis Williams told the AJP.

“While they were waiting for their prescription, they worked on removing the latch on the can and they’ve taken the entire charity donation tin.

“It was on a Sunday, so a quiet day for us, and they just sort of distracted the pharmacist – it looked like they were reading the MedsASSIST sign in front of it, so they pretended to be reading that while behind it they were unlatching the tin.

“It was a full tin, so they basically took the entire donation jar.”

9NEWS suggests the tin may have contained up to $800 at the time.

The culprit has not yet been identified, despite the name on the prescription.

“It does look like she didn’t plan it very well,” Williams says.

He told the AJP that while stealing from charity tins – or taking entire tins – was rare, it was a good idea for pharmacies who host them to keep an eye on them.

“I’ve worked in pharmacy for almost 20 years and never seen something like this before, because most people, even if they’d steal from a shop, wouldn’t touch the charity tin,” he says.

“But maybe pharmacies should be mindful that it can happen, and I guess prevention is the best way to stop it.

“We’ve now changed to have a proper lock on the chain so that people can’t unlatch it.”

The episode has had one positive outcome, however.

“The charity is for a boy who’s allergic to sunlight, it’s a very rare condition and he’s one of the oldest in the world to survive with the condition,” Williams says.

“The good news is that since the story came out, the donations from that outweighed what was lost in the original tin. So overall it’s a good outcome.”

Donations to the Friends of Sammy Joe Foundation can be made here.

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