A jar full of donations for a family whose infant died in a car crash was stolen from a corner store in Apple Valley early Wednesday morning, and an Inland Empire man on felony probation is wanted in connection with the crime, officials said.
After reviewing Apple Valley Gas Mart surveillance footage, authorities identified 41-year-old Steven Hodel as a suspect in the case, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
The incident occurred shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday morning at the convenience store, located at 21898 Highway 18 near the intersection Pawnee Road.
A tub for collecting charity money was sitting on the store’s counter, right next to the cash register. The man seen in surveillance video, identified as Hodel, was able to swipe the funds by concealing the jar under his jacket, investigators said.
Hodel paid for another item he had picked up in the store before leaving and allegedly made off with the donations, too.
It’s unclear exactly how much money was taken. The funds were being collected to help cover the funeral expenses of an infant killed recently in an Apple Valley car crash, deputies said.
Authorities are now attempting to locate Hodel, whose last known residence was in Upland.
The 41-year-old is wanted on a felony, no-bail warrant, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Anyone with information can contact the Apple Valley station at 760-240-7400.