PALMETTO, Fla. (WFLA) — Palmetto Police are asking for help from the public in identifying a man caught on camera stealing from the Palmetto Youth Center.
The crime took place in the early morning hours of Sept. 21, but police are still looking for the people responsible.
The agency shared images of one of the suspects caught on surveillance footage. They tell us many of the other clips showed the perpetrators trying to conceal themselves.
The group got away with about $1,000 worth of food and other supplies from the youth center’s concession stand. Food sold during games goes back into the athletic programs to help cover the costs of travel, uniforms, and other supplies.
The youth center has been around since 1957 and its executive director, Reggie Bellamy, says it serves a lot of local children.
“It became a safe place for youth to come so we can help them stay off the streets, obviously get in front of things like drugs, violence, and help them become educated and support them so they can have a positive quality of life,” said Bellamy.
Bellamy says he was disheartened to discover the youth center was the target of a crime.
“It was very disheartening. The concession and the gate that is used from the football program supports football and cheer. Right now we are in the middle of a fundraiser, trying to support our cheer who is going into competition within the next couple of weeks. It is very, very important, that money that we had to use twice in order to purchase the food, it put us in a very very difficult situation,” said Bellamy. “I want them caught, but my mindset is if an individual feels like they need to steal from a youth agency, it gives you a clear understanding on how unfortunate life is for some people and where we are in society right now,” he continued.
Palmetto Police Chief Scott Tyler is urging the public to step up and identify the person captured in the images.
“It is pretty sad to steal from kids programs and that is exactly what these people did,” said Chief Tyler. “Every crime is a crime against the community, but especially something like this. It was about $1000 of snacks and materials that were taken, and again the youth center has programs that are there for the community, so we really would like to be able to solve this crime,” he continued.
Anyone with information can contact Palmetto Police Detective Rogers at 941-721-2000 ext. 6365 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call Manatee County Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.
To support the youth program, visit palmettoyouthcenter.net.