PORTLAND, Ore. -- A fireworks stand that doubles as a fundraiser for students at David Douglas High School was burglarized this week.
Heads of the David Douglas Dads Club say it happened sometime between 10 p.m. Wednesday night and 8 a.m. Thursday morning.
The thieves, they say, cut padlocks off both the wooden stand and the rented metal storage unit, where the inventory was stored.
In all, they made off with $2,000 worth of fireworks and donations. That’s the same amount of money the group hands out in college scholarships every year.
In other words, said Randall Sewell, as many as four David Douglas students may not get the $500 in scholarship money they deserve.
“You get angry, you get frustrated, and you just get mad,” said Sewell, who’s been selling fireworks with the club since the fundraiser started 25 years ago.
Sewell said the stand typically raises anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000 each year. It’s the club’s biggest annual fundraiser.
He said extra funds goes to support student activities at David Douglas, such as the Rocket Club and the Robotics Club.”
Sewell said the kids are deserving as ever but added drugs, homelessness, and petty crime appear to be taking over the neighborhood.
“Our district here, the culture has changed over the years, as has many districts. I think it's part of the new culture,” he said. “It's not my lifestyle, but I'm not judging someone else's lifestyle.”
When asked if he had anything to say to the thieves, Sewell replied, “You couldn't print that kind of language.”
Sewell said a silver lining comes in support from the club’s supplier, Western Fireworks, who replaced the stolen inventory.
On top of that, he said the owner of Southeast Portland-based Pizza Baron is offering coupons for a free family-sized pizza to all customers who spend more than $100 at the stand.
He and other volunteers hope to make up the difference in stolen profit.
The David Douglas Dads fireworks stand sits at Southeast 115th Avenue and Division Street. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day through the Fourth of July.
If you know anything about the theft, you’re asked to call Portland police.