Collinsville teen's fundraising project not deterred by theft

Monday, August 2nd 2004, 9:45 am
By: News On 6

Last May, the News on 6 brought you the story behind the JJ Project. It's a fundraiser started by a Collinsville girl to raise money to replace the emergency medical service's old defibrillator.

News on 6 reporter Patrina Adger explains how a thief tried to cash in on her effort to save lives.

“Jonathan was my grandpa's name and JT was my cousin's name." Shelbi Phelps' cousin JT and her grandpa Jonathan both died of heart problems and it's been her goal this summer to raise $10,000 to purchase a new defibrillator for Collinsville's EMS.

The 13 year old even put out canisters around town to collect donations. She raised $2,000 and was hoping to raise more during an annual motorcycle event which attracts thousands of people. But Shelbi found out someone else was cashing in.

She says a woman had stolen a canister from a nearby establishment and was passing it around collecting money on behalf of the JJ Project, but they never turned that money over to Shelbi. "They were going around selling 50/50 pot tickets and a woman found me at the lake and she was like. ‘What ever happened to the 50/50 pot and we're like what 50/50 pot'"

Shelbi’s mother, Nancy Phelps: "How could someone have the audacity to do something like that when Shelbi has tried so hard and worked so hard at doing this. It's pretty shocking because it says on the can what it's for so they knew what they were doing."

Collinsville Police Sergeant Daniel Boggs says they have a brief description of the suspect, only that she's a woman with short blonde hair. And because the motorcycle event drew lots of people, they're not sure if the suspect's a local or from out of town.

They're just hoping someone remembers the woman and will come forward with information. As for the JJ Project, people are continuing to support Shelbi's effort to save lives.

Shelbi will hold a garage sale this Friday and Saturday in Collinsville to raise money for the JJ Project.