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Caught On Tape: Couple Steals Cash Raised For Funeral Expenses

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HARBOR CITY (CBS) — Police in Harbor City are searching for two thieves who robbed a local restaurant of money the owners raised to pay for the funeral of a family friend.

The Pineda family has run community favorite Antigua Guatemala for 20 years. They decided to help raise money to cover funeral costs for Maria Teresa Hernandez, who passed away unexpectedly.

A collection box on the restaurant counter was growing with generous donations. The Pinedas say the fund had reached between $800 and $1,000.

Ronnie Pineda never anticipated brazen thieves would make off with the funeral funds.

“I was in shock,” says Pineda. “I was really shocked for what they did.”

Pineda says the box was clearly marked with the purpose of the donations, and he cannot believe anyone would stoop so low.

The crime was caught by security cameras Pineda had installed just two weeks ago.

The surveillance footage shows the woman distracting an employee as the man moves the donation box from the counter to the floor. Eight minutes later, the man returns to ask for change for a ten dollar bill. He circles the store to be sure no one is watching, and then exits with the box in hand.

Pineda holds out hopes that the crooks have a conscience, and will come forward to apologize.

Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the LAPD Harbor Division at (310) 726-7700.

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