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Donation thief apprehended
With pressure mounting suspect turns herself in
donation theft1
The donation thief, seen here in surveillance camera footage, turned herself in on Friday. She was identified as Gwen Gregg, 36, of Turlock. - photo by Photo Contributed



The woman who was suspected of stealing donated money to a Turlock autistic child has been apprehended, the Turlock Police Department reported.

The suspect has been identified as Gwen Gregg, 36, of Turlock. Gregg was arrested on suspicion of commercial burglary.

On April 10 a donation box at the 7-11 at 3420 W. Monte Vista Ave. was stolen by a woman. The donation box was for “Team Shabazian” and was raising funds for Autism Speaks in honor of 9-year-old Andrew Shabazian, who has autism. There was an estimated $50 in the donation box at the time.

The theft was caught on surveillance footage and generated wide media coverage.

The Turlock Police Department had developed leads about the possible identity of the thief and on Friday were checking several locations for Gregg when she walked into the department and turned herself in.

“Officers had been looking for her so much that she decided to turn herself in,” said Turlock Police spokesperson Officer Mayra Lewis. “She knew it was just a matter of time.

“These types of crimes are unacceptable and we will exhaust all efforts to find them and make an arrest,” Lewis added.

Gregg has an extensive criminal record, including a recent guilty verdict against her for misdemeanor petty theft and two no contest pleas for felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor infliction of a traumatic injury on a spouse or cohabitant. In October 2013, she was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of a dagger. Gregg was also one of 10 individuals implicated and arrested for a string of violent home invasion robberies that plagued Stanislaus and Merced county rural residents in 2003. She was charged with robbery and participating in a criminal street gang, but the charges were later dismissed.

In the wake of the theft the community has shown an overwhelming amount of support for Team Shabazian, said Andrew’s mother Stephanie Shabazian, but she did have some words for Gregg.

“All I am looking for is an apology,” Shabazian said. “Whatever your reason was for stealing the money, I can forgive you. Just please think about how people feel when you do these kinds of things.”