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Durham store video catches thief stealing charity change

Security video at Hunky Dory, a record a smoke shop, captured a thief who stole a bin full of donations designated for charity.

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DURHAM, N.C. — The store is called Hunky Dory, but the owner of the Ninth Street record and smoke shop with the quirky name says what happened inside this week was anything but fine.

Michael Bell’s security video captured it all. A man walks into the store about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, moves over to the counter and, when the clerk has her back turned, takes a bin stuffed with money collected for charity and empties it into a plastic bag.

He starts to walk away with the cash, but not before stopping to talk to the clerk.

Then, he’s gone.

“It’s probably the lowest of the low,” said Bell, who opened the store in 2010. “It’s ridiculous that someone would stoop to that level.”

The money is part of a local effort called Spare Change for Real Change. Some Ninth Street Durham businesses are urging people to donate to the cause, rather than to panhandlers. The money collected in the bins will eventually go to charity.

Bell thinks his bin had about $20 to $25 in it, but it’s not about the dollar amount. It’s about the principle, he said.

Bell has given the video footage to Durham police and said they are investigating the case.

“I’m hoping some people would see it, recognize this guy – anything,” he said.

Customer Jim Milko hopes so, too.

“I hope the person is caught, but my first thought was (that) I hope they can replenish the bin soon,” he said.


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