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Thieves take donation jar from business, burglarize convenience stores


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HONEYVILLE (Box Elder County) — A donation jar meant for a man who is recovering from a devastating car accident was stolen from a Box Elder County business last week. Deputies have the surveillance video, and now they're looking for help to find a set of smash-and-grab burglars.

The donations were being collected at the Crystal Hot Springs water park to help Nathan Jensen, a former employee who became paralyzed from the waist down in a June 28 car accident.

"(I) don't really know what happened, and ended up waking up in the hospital," Jensen said.

The accident, which happened on I-15 near Tremonton, also took two of Jensen's friends: one was killed instantly, another later died from his injuries.

For Jensen, the last few months have been spent in hours of physical therapy.

"They're still paying for doctor bills, physical therapy; they could use a lot of help," said Matt Morley, Jensen's former co-worker.

Jensen was a lifeguard at Crystal Hot Springs in Honeyville. Morely and other co-workers started the simple donation jar to help pay his medical expenses. They believe they had collected a couple hundred dollars.

"It's nice of them to help out," Jensen said. "(It) shows that they care, and shows me that I'm part of the family here."

But on Nov. 11, thieves broke into the facility and stole the money. Box Elder County Sgt. Dale Ward said the burglars broke into the cash register first; when the found it empty, they too the donation money instead.

"You'd think they're probably gonna feel bad when they read the jar later," said Adam Nelson, general manager at Crystal Hot Springs. "But they obviously don't feel too bad or they wouldn't have robbed two other places."

In fact, Ward said they burglarized a convenience store in Riverside that same night. They keep their faces covered; but surveillance video caught an image of a dark-colored pickup truck through the front window of the store.

"We don't have this type of crime typically in the county. We're taking it very seriously," Ward said.

Investigators believe the same burglars struck a Sinclair gas station in Corinne on Nov. 21. Video from that store shows them loading up on cigarettes before taking off.

Meanwhile, the workers at Crystal Hot Springs are working to earn back those donations so they can continue to help a friend. They're in the process of planning a fundraiser to make up for those lost donations.

"For someone to come in and take that just seems really wrong," Nelson said.

The Box Elder County Sheriff's Office is offering a $500 reward for information leading to a conviction in this case.

Email: manderson@ksl.com

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Mike Anderson

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