ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida has a real-life Hamburglar. But instead of stealing hamburgers, the thief is taking charity boxes.
In the last three months, there have been a dozen thefts across the state – from Jacksonville, to Lakeland to South Tampa.
Between May 26 and June 10, detectives say somebody took at least seven and tried to steal an eighth box from McDonald's locations in the Tampa Bay region. The fast-food crime scenes were spread across Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk counties.
Crime Stoppers says, in at least one case, a thief used bolt cutters to remove the locks that cover the donation boxes before riding off on a motorcycle.
It's not clear how much the donations were worth. However, the boxes bring in an annual revenue of roughly $150,000 for the families of children in area hospitals, according to the owner of Caspers Company, which runs 60 McDonald's franchises around the Bay.
"We have asked our General Managers to place the lobby games in the back of our restaurants until this thief is in custody," Dustin Portillo with Caspers Company wrote in a statement.
On June 7, the Zephyrhills Police Department took to Facebook for help identifying a man seen on video walking out of a McDonald's with one of the boxes. The box itself is worth $500, and it's not known how much cash was inside.
Anyone with information that could help stop the charity box thefts is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 1-800-873-TIPS or click here to submit an anonymous tip online.
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