Teenagers snatch veteran's donation jar on Veterans Day

Teenagers snatch veteran's donation jar on Veterans Day »Play Video
A teenager stole 91-year-old Elle Ellsworth's donation jar on Veterans Day. Ellsworth served in the Navy during World War II.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Thieves robbed a 91-year-old World War II veteran collecting donations for his post – on Veterans Day.

Elle Ellsworth has plenty of stories from his service in the Navy, and now he volunteers with the Veterans of Foreign Wars. On Veterans Day he was collecting donations outside the Safeway at Southeast 122nd and Powell.

"I've been doing it for about 15 years and never had any trouble," Ellsworth said Wednesday. "My son-in-law kept on saying you need to put some of that money away. Luckily this time I listened to him and put the money in another container."

It was a different container, however, that caught the eye of two people. While he was collecting donations, he noticed two teenagers standing about 20 feet away and acting a little suspicious. About two minutes later one of them got away with his donation jar.

"He grabbed that thing so quick and took off and went to the other end of the store and turned the corner, and that was the last I saw of him," Ellsworth said.

He said he still can't believe the teenagers targeted him.

"I feel really sorry for him," Ellsworth said. "You know, I'm from the Greatest Generation, and I just can't wrap my mind around someone doing that. We just don't take someone's stuff."

Despite being robbed on the day the country honors those who served and are serving, Ellsworth said the incident won't stop him.

"The VFW's motto is honoring the dead by helping the living. So that's what we do," he said.

Even though he was upset someone did that to him, Ellsworth still spent the rest of the day collecting donations.

Surveillance video has been turned over to the Portland Police Bureau to determine if the suspects are on the video.

Ellsworth's VFW post is holding a turkey dinner fundraiser this Sunday and is hoping to replace some of the stolen money. It runs from noon to 5 at Post 1442. That’s on 87th avenue in Southeast Portland.

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