Crime & Courts

Children's-charity cash stolen from IHOP

Employees at an east Wichita IHOP are hopping mad after someone stole donations earmarked for the Children's Miracle Network.

An unidentified man grabbed a box filled with cash donations next to a cash register at the restaurant at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and ran out the door with it, employees said.

"It was a big box," said Connie Saffle, a head server at the store, 11855 E. Kellogg. "It had to have, at the very minimum, $1,000 in it."

In exchange for free pancakes on Tuesday, IHOP asked customers to make a donation to the Children's Miracle Network. The box next to the cash register was nearly 5 feet tall, Saffle said, and was weighted down with water bottles at the base.

But that didn't deter the thief. Saffle said he waited until the front of the store "was very, very full" before he grabbed the box.

Video of the theft is being turned in to police, she said.

Employees are devastated by the theft, Saffle said. They've been working extra hard for a month to raise money for sick children, she said, and "some jerk just walks off with it."

The East Kellogg store plans to match whatever donations have been raised at the other two Wichita locations, but folks can stop by the restaurant if they want to donate to the network, she said.

"We don't want our kids to lose out," Saffle said. "Families with kids that are going through these serious illnesses are going through enough. They don't need to have anything added to them."