Armed robbery at bingo fundraiser in San Jose

San Jose police are asking for the public's help to identify a suspect who stormed into a Bingo fundraiser and robbed them.
December 12, 2013 8:09:32 PM PST
An armed robber stole thousands of dollars from a bingo fundraiser at Oak Grove High School in San Jose. The money was supposed to support the high school band for the entire year and pay for their trips overseas.

This bingo game started all the way back in 1983 to raise money for the band. It takes place every week on campus, but last night was the first time it was ever robbed.

The Oak Grove High School band room in South San Jose is filled hundreds of trophies, medals and awards. Over the past two decades, the highly regarded musicians and color guard have marched in presidential inaugurations and international parades. But their future may be altered, after a weekly bingo game designed to raise money for the program was robbed, Wednesday night.

"Our booster treasure, she said we had been robbed at gunpoint and she was kind of upset and freaked out," said director of bands Chris Moura.

The bingo game advertises a $5,000 payout. The only person who made money last night though was a man in a mask. Police and band officials say the robber came at about 9:30, pulled out a gun, put his hand in the cash box and took off with an estimated $4,000 to $5,000. The bingo games make $60,000 to $80,000 a year for the program -- about 90-percent of its total budget.

"To be able to do the winter programs that we have; to be able to go to festivals. So it's, it will be a direct negative on these great students that work exceptionally hard," said Moura.

The band will be heading to Europe at the end of the month and will play in the London New Year's Day parade. But the robbery stings, band members wonder why someone would steal not only their money, but also the opportunities the cash provides.

"It was a shock to me," said drum major Gabe Calderon.

"Disappointing?" asked ABC7's Matt Keller.

"Yeah, very -- disappointing for the future of this program or other programs like field season or winter season will get shut down because of this," said Calderon.

The band director says they will be hiring a second security guard for the bingo game. They're hoping the community will step up and help make up for the loss of money.


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