SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - One Whitemarsh Island couple is devastated after someone stole a box of donations they were gathering for St. Jude’s Hospital.
“When it started we had the Santa Claus sled with the reindeer out there and just over the years it’s grown and grown,” said homeowner Rick Schirtzinger.
Rick and his wife Cheryl have lived in their home for more than 20 years and each year they add a few more decorations – most of them Rick cuts out of wood and Cheryl decorates.
They spend an entire day just getting the decorations out of their attic.
“It took us working all day six days to put it up to get everything out. And then, of course, running all the electric wiring and then we stacked down all the wires so people don’t trip over them hopefully. So, yeah, it took a good six days to get it all done," said Schirtzinger.
When they first started, they wanted to make their work worthwhile.
"We just felt – we didn't want to charge people to come see it – but we felt like if they were going to come see it maybe they would be willing to make a donation for a good cause and we both liked St. Jude's."
And that’s when the couple started gathering donations to help a worthy cause. Sunday morning Rick noticed something was wrong.
"I saw a couple of our decorations had been knocked over in the street and looked up and the whole box was gone. The pole it was mounted on was kind of shoved over to the side like they tried to take the whole thing and then evidently pried the box off."
Someone had stolen the entire box with the donations inside.
“It’s just hard to believe, you know. Just looking at it is thinking really somebody is that low that desperate that they would steal from cancer victims and just makes me sad,” said Schirtzinger.
Tuesday Rick placed a new box outside for the donations. He secured it was chains and even a lock in hoping it won’t be as easy to steal.
He and his wife say even though it's heartbreaking to have the money stolen – the money they are able to raise makes it worthwhile.
“That’s what makes it all worthwhile. When we sit down exhausted in January after taking everything down and putting it away, it’s just knowing we were able to raise some money for St. Jude’s Hospital makes it worthwhile for us.”