Donation jar, meant for woman who needs kidney transplant, stolen from Rocky Mount bait & tackle shop

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WTVD) -- For 18 years, the Joyners have called Larry Lane home and work.

Just feet from the front door is their business, B & R Bait & Tackle along NC Highway 43 in Rocky Mount.

"If they've ever been in here one time, they've been a return customer," said Becky Joyner, the store's owner.

In this tight-knit community -- Joyner grew up right next door -- strangers and outsiders are uncommon.

"I have left this bait shop unlocked at night and gone in the house. We leave our cars unlocked," Joyner said.

For the past two months, they've been raising money through T-shirts and raffles for their daughter-in-law, Stephanie, who needs a kidney transplant after battling diabetes for 24 years.

"She wouldn't know what a normal day would be," Joyner said.

They had raised $220 - nearly enough for a transfusion - and kept it in a tin behind the counter.

Tuesday morning, after dropping off her grandson at school, Joyner noticed something was off near the store's window.

"I saw the screen on the ground, balled up," Joyner said.

Startled, Joyner called the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office and waited for them to arrive before entering. Once inside, Joyner found none of the store's merchandise was taken, and she had cleared out the cash register the night before, leaving no money there.

But when she looked behind the counter, she found the tin full of donations was empty.

"My heart fell. You know - take something from me, you know. Take a reel, go pawn it, whatever. That money - that's life-saving money to her," said Joyner.

Joyner said the front door was locked, and she had never opened the window that was found ajar Tuesday morning. While there was a recently-installed motion sensor near the window, there's no alarm or security camera inside the store.

As word spread of the stolen funds, donations to a GoFundMe page for Joyner began pouring in.

It's now raised nearly $7,000 toward treatment.

"It shows the love and generosity. There are some bad people out there, but there's so many more good people," said Joyner.

If you have any information on this break-in call the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Department at (252) 641-7911.
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