In the South Valley, thousands of dollars of fireworks have been stolen from a stand operated by a church nonprofit in Dinuba.
Police say it happened either late Friday night or early Saturday morning, near Alta and Saginaw Avenues.
Knights of Columbus volunteer workers are working fast to restock the shelves at their firework stand with new merchandise, after they said a thief nearly wiped them clean.
“Everything on this shelf was full,” Leo Soto, with Knights of Columbus, said.
Remnants of the fireworks that remain, scattered throughout a stand that was filled just two days ago.
“This is the fourth year we’ve done it here and never had no issue,” Soto said.
But early Saturday morning, Soto said he and his fellow brothers went to open up the stand, ready to sell and were shocked by what they saw.
The lock to the storage where the fireworks were held, looked to be torched off. A third of their fireworks, stolen.
“We had about 25,000 dollars in sales and they ended up taking close to 16,000 dollars worth,” Soto said. “They left all the bigger bulky items that were too big to carry and all the smaller items that were high dollar value, they took pretty much all of it.”
Soto said the money raised from the stand is their biggest fundraiser of the year. He said the money goes towards helping community members with scholarships, backpacks and food.
Residents said it’s ashame that someone would do this to a church that always gives back.
“It’s not any profit to them, it’s a service for the community,” a local resident said.
“All the people that they help with the money that they raise from these funds, it’s really really heartbreaking,” Benita Torres, a local resident, said.
Soto said they only have until Tuesday to raise money and sell whats left from the robbery and their new merchandise. He said they’ll be lucky if they break even.
“I’m just praying for the people that took it,” Soto said.
He said they organization will now store the firework merchandise at an secure off-site location.
Knights of Columbus members are asking if anyone has information to contact the police.