St. Jude donations stolen from Dalton restaurant - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

St. Jude donations stolen from Dalton restaurant

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DALTON, GA. (WRCB) -- A north Georgia Chili's restaurant made a startling discovery. The money employees have raised for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has been stolen!

The five-gallon jug contained hundreds of dollars. Now employees are scrambling to replace what was taken.

"During a shift last night, it went missing," says manager, Orlando Gonzalez.

A donation jug, filled with money raised to help kids fight cancer, slipped out the door Tuesday night.

"Roughly I want to say $200 - $300 maybe," Gonzalez says. "It's hard to believe that somebody would take the money from kids. It's hard on our staff, when we try as hard as we can to raise the money and somebody comes by and does something like that."

Orlando Gonzalez manages the Chili's in Dalton.

He says his staff has been working all month to raise $5,000 to fight childhood cancer. They were halfway to their goal.

Gonzalez says it was tough for his staff to learn some of the money had been taken.

"If this person was hungry, if they needed money, I could have donated a meal," he says. "But they have to do something like this. It's just a shame."

Managers filed a police report Tuesday afternoon with Dalton Police, but so far no leads.

The wait staff is trying to replenish what was taken.

"They are out there trying to get their money back," says Gonzalez.

And families like the Mullis' are stepping up, swapping donations for chili pepper coloring sheets.

"I think only a dollar a piece, but I plan on making a donation when we walk out though," says Michelle Mullis.

"It could make them feel better," says Kaylor Mullis.

Gonzalez is hoping the money is returned, but says his staff is focused on who the money was raised for.

"We are doing this for the kids, and the kids need all the help they can get," he says.

Chili's is eight years into a ten-year campaign to raise $50 million for St. Jude.

So far nationwide, $41 million has been raised.

Chili's in Dalton plans to donate all proceeds taken in on September 24th to St. Jude.

Gonzalez is hopeful his staff will be able to make up for what was lost.

Stay with for updates to this story.

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