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Family: Burglar steals kids' savings for Disneyland trip

Posted at 4:50 AM, May 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 15:27:21-04

For three years, a trio of kids in San Tan Valley sold candy from their front door and saved up chore money for a trip to Disneyland.

“It kind of shows how much all of us all care about each other when we all put stuff into the jug,” 11-year-old Mariel Mata told ABC15.

She and her siblings, 6-year-old Elena and 4-year-old Emmanuel, had been putting every dollar they had into a plastic water cooler jug. Now, after a break-in over the weekend at their home, it's all gone. 

“It wasn’t just them for themselves — they were thinking of like, their siblings and their parents," mom Emily Mata said, holding back tears. "It was something selfless they got to do on a daily basis that just got taken away.”

A Pinal County Sheriff's office spokesman says 18-year-old Tony Cheatham was arrested in connection with the burglary and released. He had $75 on him during his arrest. 

Emily Mata says a stolen pair of shoes and a gun were found scattered behind their home but the money is still missing. The last time they counted out the jug there was $500 inside.

“This is something that they had been working for for a long time," she says.

The kids say they're going to start from scratch while the family figures out what to do next.

“It’s basically like three years of work getting thrown away," 11-year-old Mariel said.