Store clerk chases robbery suspect who steals donation

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Tuesday, authorities were still trying to track down a suspect, who they say stole hundreds of dollars from a donation jar at a local liquor store.

The employees at Enterprise Liquors know their customers and neighbors, so it isn't unusual for them to collect donations for different causes.

"We were collecting money for a girl that wanted to go to China, and today was actually the last day to collect the money," Lori Popick, a clerk at the store, said.

The girl is Grand Junction junior Madalyn Stewart, and so far, the store has collected more than $500 for her trip.

"I've always been interested in Chinese history and everything that's happened over there so to be able to go and see it and experience it first hand would be absolutely incredible," Stewart said.

But Tuesday, that money ended up in the hands of a thief.

"Described as a twentiesh year old male, possibly Hispanic, kind of scraggly dark hair over the ears," Mesa County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Heather Benjamin said.

Popick said she chased the suspect, who got into a white van with a getaway driver.

"I got his license plate and I rolled down my window and saw him counting the money he had just stolen out of the store, and I told him it'd be wise if he returned the money," Popick said,

Store owners said their security cameras caught the suspect grabbing the jar of money right off the counter before taking off out the door.

Stewart said she plans to keep fund raising on her own, not giving up on her overseas trip.

"I do a ton of homework after school so I do fundraisers at the symphonies, raise money there, sell concessions," she said.

Enterprise Liquors stayed open all day after the theft. Store owners said they will keep collecting money for Stewart’s trip tomorrow, with plans to match any donations made.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said they're looking for an older model, white Chevy van. The driver of that van is described as a tall, white man in his 40's or 50's with a beard. The suspect is described as a male in his twenties with darker skin, possibly Hispanic, last seen wearing a gray hoodie.

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