STRONGSVILLE- A man wanted for stealing an Alex's Lemonade Stand donation box from the Auntie Anne’s in the Southpark Mall has turned himself in.
The incident happened at closing time on July 8. Surveillance cameras captured images of a man and woman near the counter just after all of the employees left, when they returned the next morning the box was gone. The woman has since been cleared in the incident.
The donation box alone was worth $75 and it contained between $50 and $75 in donations.
Shortly after FOX 8 posted the theft on our Facebook page and newscasts, police said they received dozens of calls from viewers who identified the suspect.
33-year-old John Whittaker, of Elyria, turned himself in Tuesday and admitted to everything.
He is charged with two counts of theft. He is currently being held at the Lorain County Jail on outstanding warrants for probation violations.
According to police, Whittaker has a lengthy criminal history for thefts, property crimes and drugs per the detective.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand is a charitable foundation that raises funds to help combat childhood cancer and is named after Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who started holding lemonade stands at the age of 4 to fight cancer after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
Alex passed away at the age of 8, but her legacy lives on and her charity was chosen for the 6th annual Fox 8 Fox Trot.
Liz Scott, Co-Executive Director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Alex’s mom said, “It’s always disheartening and sad, because people give and they want the money to go to help kids and we know too well that every single donation matters and then sometimes I think what kind of bad situation are you in if you need to steal from a children’s cancer charity.”
Donations to the foundation are distributed to hospitals and pediatric research facilities across the country including the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University.
Some of the funds are also used to support families of children diagnosed with cancer, who need to travel for care.
You can learn more about Alex's Lemonade Stand here.