Man caught on camera stealing from little girl who needs heart transplant

Man caught on camera stealing from little girl who needs heart transplant

PAHOA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii Island community is reeling as word spreads about a man who stole from a local family trying to raise money for their 8-year-old daughter who is on life support.

Surveillance video captures the exact moment someone swiped a jar that had been set up to collect donations for Madisyn Tamaki at Irie Hawaii in Puna. The Pahoa Elementary School third-grader is in desperate need of a heart transplant.

"We had people coming in and out all day, but at one point there were the only two people in here. They were waiting for my worker to get distracted by somebody and as soon as she turns her back, he grabs it and puts it in his pants," described store manager Jose Miranda, who says generous customers had already contributed at least $200 to the Tamaki family before the donation jar was stolen on Monday.

"I was watching the video and my heart just dropped to my toes, you know? Everybody has some kind of etiquette -- even robbers, even burglars -- and for him to not even think about this 8 year-old needing a heart transplant to me is mind-boggling. That's beyond cold-hearted to me," said Miranda.

Maddie's family was equally devastated to hear the news.

"I'm just very, very floored that somebody would feel the need to take anything from anybody -- but from a child needing a heart transplant?! It devastated me and angered me at the same time. It took me all day to wrap my head around this whole thing," said Maddie's aunt, Melissa Dunn.

Maddie's ohana says she went from being a healthy, happy 8-year-old enjoying her winter break at home to suddenly becoming so ill she had to be air-lifted to Oahu. Within a day of being of admitted to Kapiolani Medical Center, she was in full cardiac arrest and has been on life support ever since she was diagnosed with acute fulminant myocarditis. The nflammatory disease attacks the heart muscle -- causing Madisyn's cardiac dysfunction.

"It's been a nightmare, basically it's very surreal. You would not wish it on your worst enemy. It is such a horrible feeling not knowing what's going to happen the next day or the next minute with your child," said Dunn.

Family members say Maddie has already undergone surgery to remove a clot in one of her arteries. On January 6, 2015, Madisyn suffered a stroke that affected her speech and language functions. Her heart has been showing minimal signs of activity and is still unable to pump on its own. Maddie and her family have since been transferred to the Seattle Children's Hospital where she is awaiting a heart transplant, which doctors say is her only hope. She is currently in critical but stable condition.

"We're just all praying that a heart will become available for her," said Dunn. "Maddie is a very intelligent and vibrant child and she's got so much to achieve in her future."

A police report was filed, but as of Tuesday evening there was no word of any arrests.

More on Maddie:

Watch the entire surveillance video:

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