A teenage boy stole nearly $500 from two war veterans this Memorial Day weekend. Harvey Krasner, 90, and Gerry Geisler, 79, were raising money for veterans’ organizations in front of a Rancho Mirage, California, grocery store, when the incident occurred.
The pair have been raising money outside of this particular grocery store for several years on each Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and have never had an incident of this nature before.
“Toward the end of the day, we had a full bucket of money,” Krasner said. He went on to explain that after the teen took the money, “he was gone in a flash. Gerry got up to run after him, but there was no way to catch him.”
Police still do not know the identity of who took the bucket of money, and investigations continue.
The grocery store where the incident occurred, Haggen Food and Pharmacy, has been very cooperative with the police investigation, and they even donated to an organization Krasner and Geisler are a part of, the Jewish War Veterans of Palm Springs.
“I don’t like to ask for it. We always wanted to have people willing to show their appreciation. If I have to ask for it, it doesn’t mean anything. If you do it because you want to it means something” Geisler said.
JWV Commander Bob Wolk, 85, said the worst part about this case is that it occurred on Memorial Day Weekend, a time meant to honor those who nobly served our nation.
“That money wasn’t ours. It belonged to those men in that hospital. We’ve been doing this for 15 years successfully and very proud of the amount of money we’ve been able to collect for them, and we’ve seen what it can do for them” Geisler also later told the media.
Krasner and Geisler were also handing out poppies to those who donated, a tradition inspired by a famous World War I poem written by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae titled “In Flanders’ Fields.” In the poem, the red poppies which grow over the graves of fallen soldiers symbolize the sacrifice they gave in the war.
Krasner said that they want to make up for losing the donations, and that anyone who would like to help should donate to the Jewish War Veterans of Palm Springs.