Search for gift card thief at fundraiser in South Kingstown

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) – A local mother and her daughter, who is suffering from stage four breast cancer, are hoping police can track down the person who allegedly stole $500 in gift cards from a recent fundraiser.

Katy Bell, 40, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. She’s gone through chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, and reconstruction surgeries. She’s a former special education teacher who had to step away from the job in February.

With outstanding medical bills, family and friends tried to help.

“I’m so impressed by the sense of community in Rhode Island,” said Bell. “Everybody is always willing to give back.”

Bell’s mother, Darlene McGuinness, organized a fundraiser at Whaler’s Brewing Company. Right before the raffle, her family realized a few gift cards were missing.

They later contacted South Kingstown Police, hoping they could track down who took the cards.

More than $5,000 in raffle prizes were donated to the event. The brewery also offered the family the venue free of charge.

“We’ll get through this and be strong as we always are,” said McGuinness. “I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

Both Bell and McGuinness did reach out to places that issued the cards. They have since been voided.