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Someone apparently came to Cafe 901 for a meal Wednesday and left with a pocket full of money.
And what makes co-owner Leisa Barnes really mad is that the money was intended to benefit Lancaster High students.
Barnes said someone stole more than $40 from a jar full of donations to help the LHS marching band buy new uniforms. It was stolen between 4 and 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The donation jar, which sits next to the cash register, is one of several efforts Cafe 901 has undertaken to help the band raise the money. Store owners sponsored a benefit barbecue and also give 10 percent of their earnings on Thursday nights to the band.
The jar had been up since January. Nearly $60 was donated that month and the store had collected about $50 this month.
Barnes said she saw the $50 or so in the jar when she left Cafe 901 at 4 p.m. Wednesday, but another store worker noticed that a lot of the money was missing while closing around 8 p.m.
Restaurant employees said they are certain that a diner took the money, leaving just $6 in the jar.
The money taken doesn’t bother Barnes as much as knowing that somebody would steal from a good cause, she said.
“It’s a lot of money for the band,” Barnes said. “It’s more of a hurt-your-feeling kind of thing.”
Barnes said that Cafe 901 will still take donations for the band, but will use a container that doesn’t allow a person to easily remove money. The previous collection jar had no top.
“(That jar) was like a fishbowl,” she said. “We were too trusting.”
Diana Knight, a member of the band’s booster club, said she was is disbelief when she got the news.
“The members of the band and color guard have worked extremely hard with all of our fundraisers to raise enough money to buy new uniforms,” Knight said.
“Cafe 901 goes beyond being generous,” she said. “And for someone to steal from the restaurant and from our kids is totally unforgiveable.”
Fund raising events
Barnes estimates that Cafe 901 has raised more than $3,000 for the band since January. The restaurant is also hosting a fish fry at 11 a.m. Feb. 28 that will benefit the band.
A number of other local businesses are helping the band with the uniforms, which band director John Rhodes said will cost between $30,000 and $36,000.
His aim is to have them in time for the next marching season.
Contact reporter Jesef Williams at email@example.com or at (803) 283-1152