After having his savings stolen, a local boy is turning a negative into a positive for the community

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JOPLIN, Mo. — A quick trip to pick up some snacks turned to disappointment for a local family after their car was broken into.

Now they’re using this situation to help give back to others.

Jackie Rizo, Eliah’s Mother, said, “I saw someone right next to our car and at first I thought surely that’s not our car door open.”

Monday night started out like any other at the Rizo home.

“It was around 7:30 or 8 last night, Eliah had wanted to go to Dollar General and he had been saving his money for about a year in this jar and he wanted to get snacks for his siblings and have a movie night, and so that’s what we did.”

Jackie and Eliah traveled less than two miles from their home to the Dollar General on East 46th Street as they were leaving they noticed someone was inside their car.

“By me, you know, yelling, he was startled and got in his car and drove backwards out of the parking lot.”

But not before taking off with the jar of money Eliah had saved. Filled with: “dollars, pennies, and dimes,” said Eliah.

“We both realized when he was on the passenger side that he took Eliah’s money, his whole jar which is about..it was a good size glass jar,” said Jackie.

In total it was more than $40.

“I was upset at first but then I realized it’s just money and so it wasn’t really that big of a deal,” said Eliah.

Eliah’s dad Sergio took to facebook to warn others.

“One, we wanted our community to be safe. Two, we want people to be held accountable,” said Sergio

The post received a lot of support, with people asking how they could help refill Eliah’s jar of money, but Eliah wanted something else instead.

“He knows a lot of people over at Watered Gardens and so if people were wanting to fill his jar he said they could do that and it would be giving to the people at Watered Gardens,” said Jackie.

Eliah says he’s turning this negative situation into a positive one for others.

“We have a lot of friends who work there and we know a lot of people who used to live there for a little while and so that’s really why and I’ve donated there before,” said Eliah.

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