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Elderly Theft Victim Jimmie Stewart Receives Big Donation

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn.- Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist along with officials with West Tennessee Health Care Foundation presented two large checks to elderly theft victim Jimmie Stewart, Thursday afternoon. The two checks totaled more than $9,000.

"I'm happy, I don't know what to think," said Stewart. "I ain't never know nothing like this could happen before, you know."

A few weeks ago Stewart, who was shopping for groceries for his sick wife of 55 years, fell ill in the checkout line. He was feeling weak from having just received kidney dialysis. He said he accidentally dropped his wallet when he leaned over the checkout counter. During the fainting spell, the man behind him was captured on surveillance cameras sliding Stewart's wallet out of sight with his foot before taking it. The wallet contained more than $1,300 . The theft left Mr. and Mrs. Stewart in a financial dilemma.

"Once we started the campaign, I knew that people here would come through with a very generous donation for him because he had just cashed his social security check getting a few groceries to take home to his wife who is ill and he was left with no money," said Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist. "This is the season of unity, we are a diverse community and people of all races and ages gave to this worthy cause because someone needed the help badly."

City Leaders said the money was raised by West Tennesseans who saw Stewart's story on WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News and wanted to help.

The West Tennessee Health Care Foundation established the Jimmie Stewart Charitable Fund in an effort to restore the funds for food and medicine that were stolen. Officials said during the last few weeks, employees of West Tennessee Health Care and residents throughout West Tennessee donated enough funds to give Mr. Stewart two separate checks.

Inside of the Food Giant Thursday afternoon, the president of the West Tennessee Health Care Foundation, Frank McMeen gave Mr Stewart a check for $1,300. Mayor Gist, representing the people of Jackson presented a check for $7,795.

"I didn't expect nothing like this to happen. This is a blessing is all I can say," said Jimmie Stewart Junior, Stewart's son.

Mr. Stewart said he plans on paying bills, maybe buying a wallet with a chain on it and having a very merry Christmas. He said there were not enough words to describe his appreciation. Mayor Gist told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News that donations are still pouring in for the Stewart family.

"I thank them, I thank everybody, " said Stewart. " That's all I can say is thank you and I appreciate it."

There has not yet been an arrest made in the case. To see the surveillance video again look for the story on wbbjtv.com.

If recognize the man seen taking Stewart's wallet or have any information that could help, call Jackson Police at (731) 425-8400 or Crime Stoppers at (731) 424- 8477 (TIPS).


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