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Money stolen from booth at Thursdays on First

He spent more than 45 minutes looking over the quilted items and scrap fabric at the Rochester Senior Center 's Quilting Group's booth at Thursdays on First this week. He even talked to the women volunteering at the booth about where he worked and that he wanted to buy Christmas presents for his family.

Then suddenly he was gone, and so was the group's money bag filled with about $650.

Although the three volunteers didn't see the man take the money, he's the main suspect because of where he'd been standing, in reach of the bag, and the timing.

"He must have been watching us all the time we were working," said Mary Hanson, a member of the Castle Quilters, who noted that each time they made a sale they slipped the money bag under some items on the table.

Hanson described the man as white, in his mid-20s, 6 feet tall with sandy, red hair and a baby face.


"He was a very friendly sort of person," Hanson said. "We thought he was waiting for friends to come buy Christmas presents."

The theft occurred at about 6:30 p.m., while the volunteers were putting up some lights and helping other customers, she said.

Police searched the area but didn't locate the suspect. The quilters went to where the man said he worked, but nobody by that description worked there, Hanson said.

The theft was disheartening for the Castle Quilters, a group of about 30 women who meet every Monday from 9 a.m. to noon to make quilts to donate to community causes such as Crisis Nursery, Hiawatha Homes and auctions.

For the first time this year, the group set up a booth at Thursdays on First to help raise money to offset the cost of materials and donate back to the Senior Center, which is facing financial challenges. At the booth they sold small items such as pot holders, wall hangings, aprons, table runners and tooth fairy pillows.

"It was a heartbreaking ending of the day," Hanson said. "I just sobbed most of the night. Our ladies worked so hard."

The experience, however, taught them that there are good people out there too, Hanson said. A person from the next booth offered the group $40 to help make up for their losses, she said.

Still, they want other vendors to be aware of what happened to help prevent future thefts, she said.


"We learned a lesson. We were more trusting. He figured that out," Hanson said. "You can't be too careful."

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