HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Surveillance video of man stealing a jar of money from a Hawaii Island business quickly went viral after word spread the cash was meant for a little girl on life support and an extra vigilant community has helped led to the arrest of the suspected thieves.
57-year-old Jeffrey Kleinschmidt and 45-year-old Kristin Johnson, both of Pahoa, were arrested for third-degree theft Wednesday. This isn't Kleinschmidt's first brush with the law. According to police records, he has 31 priors.
The theft took place Monday in Puna where a donation jar was set up to collect money for Maddie Tamaki, a Pahoa Elementary School third-grader in desperate need of a heart transplant.
Police believe Kleinschmidt and Johnson are the same two people caught by surveillance camera at Irie Hawaii on Monday, browsing racks and appearing to bide their time, until a clerk turned away from them. That's when the man can be seen first fiddling with the donation jar and then shoving it down his pants before walking away.
The store manager, Jose Miranda, says he picked the two out in a line-up Wednesday afternoon after they were recognized at another smoke shop in town and later taken into custody by police.
"I'm just happy that it's done. The outpour of support for Maddie has become tenfold. People calling us wanting to replace the money that was taken. A few people called saying they wanted to donate double what was taken. It just was unreal the support that's flowing from this situation for her and if there's any positive from this situation -- that's the positive," said Miranda.
Maddie's 'ohana says she went from being a healthy, happy little girl enjoying her winter break at home -- to suddenly becoming so ill she had to be air-lifted to O'ahu. Within a day of being of admitted to Kapi'olani Hospital, she was in full cardiac arrest and has been on life support ever since she was diagnosed with acute fulminant myocarditis. The inflammatory disease attacks the heart muscle.
Family members say Maddie has already undergone surgery to remove a clot in one of her arteries, but in January, she suffered a stroke that has affected her speech and language functions.
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.
Maddie's family says they are extremely grateful for the generosity the community has shown. They hope to bring her home soon, but her heart is still unable to pump on its own. Maddie's currently in critical, but stable condition.
For more information on Maddie, click
Watch the entire surveillance video