A community in Maine rallying around a teenager battling brain cancer is shocked to learn that someone has been stealing from a bottle and can drive to pay for his treatment.
The Oxford County Sheriff’s Department has charged 38-year-old Eric Dorf of Westbrook with theft, after they say he was caught on surveillance video dumpster-diving in Hiram, stealing about $300 worth of donations meant for a local teenager.
"It makes you sick, and it makes you so mad that someone would do something like that," said Dana Shea.
His family set up a bottle and can drop off center near their home on South Hiram Road. All the money from redemption helps their nephew, James Day, pay for experimental cancer treatment in Florida.
Shea said the Hiram community has generously donated hundreds of dollars in bottles and cans each week.
"It’s been amazing," he said.
But last week, the family noticed that donations seemed to be missing from their shed – which is marked with multiple banners and signs explaining the fundraiser. Shea’s sons set up security cameras, and caught someone stealing last week.
The man can be seen in the video pulling up to the donation site, filling up his truck, and even jumping inside to grab more bottles and cans. When the Shea’s posted the video to Facebook, tips from social media started pouring in. The Sheriff’s Department announced the charges hours after the video was posted.
"Honestly it’s kind of sad that somebody would feel like they have to steal," said Day, in between cancer treatments on Tuesday. He said he hopes the theft won’t keep his community in Maine from supporting him.
"It really means a lot to me," he said.
Day was first diagnosed with cancer five years ago. This is his second bout with the disease, and his treatment is showing signs of success. Day said his brain tumor has been shrinking, and he is feeling better. Because it is experimental, it is not covered by his insurance. His mother estimates it will cost his family nearly $100,000.
They continue to collect bottles and cans at their donation site in Hiram, and have set up a Go Fund Me page to collect donations online.