Christmas Fundraiser Cash Swiped from New Jersey Firehouse

A cash register filled with cash raised through a Christmas tree fundraiser all last month has been stolen from a volunteer firehouse in New Jersey, leaving firefighters and neighbors stunned. 

The 30 volunteer members of the Spring Lake Heights fire department worked in the cold and the rain all month selling Christmas trees and wreaths, even making home deliveries, to raise money for needed repairs.

The entire cash register containing $1,000 was stolen from the firehouse early last week.

"They are such a wonderful fire department, they do wonderful fundraisers, wonderful things for children, who could do that?" said Spring Lake resident Sharon Cox. 

"It is mind-boggling to think someone would actually do that," said Spring Lake Heights Fire Department Chief Joe Tompey.

When she heard about the money that was stolen, Sue Demaris, who works with the K-9 Valor Task Force, went to the firehouse to make a $500 donation in person. Firefighters had saved her four dogs when her house was burning. 

"I wish I could have given them the full amount but we are a new nonprofit," she said.

"We are here every day, year-round, and now the community is helping us," said Tompey. 

It's not clear how the thief was able to get into the firehouse, which is locked up around the clock. It is a volunteer department, so everyone has another job.

Spring Lake Heights Police Chief David Petriken called it an isolated incident "and I hope it never happens again anywhere." 

There are surveillance cameras at the firehouse but police won't release the video. No suspect has been identified. 

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