The title is the question running through my mind on the morning and throughout the day today that I originally started writing this (Monday 2017 May 15). I set it aside for a few days because I was on the fence about whether or not this needed to go up as a blog post. Yes, it’s been a week and a half, but I’m still pissed off enough about it that I think it should. Here is the background:
Saturday afternoon I was manning the Extra Life booth at Comicpalooza. Extra Life is one of the charity/non-profit groups I am involved with, we run an annual gaming marathon every fall (late October or early November, this year it is on November 4). It works just like a lot of other similar fundraiser events; players get others to sponsor them (suggested rate $1/hour or $24) and the money goes to the local Children’s Miracle Network hospital (in our case, Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH)). The event is one of the things we do to get the word out about our group and event as there are still a few out there who have not heard about us (and a few others who are getting us mixed up with at least one other similar event that has popped up since).
Anyway, one of the draws to our booth, at least through the time I closed up Saturday, was a Connect Four game set bought for our group (out of TCH funds, I would later learn). I secure everything as best I can before leaving Saturday evening at around 6:45 pm (I had been there since about 12:45 pm and spent the last 2½ hours or so staffing the booth by myself, for reasons I’m not going to go into here as that aren’t really relevant here). So it was to my horror that I saw a message early this morning that the Connect Four set was completely missing. Poof. Vanished without a trace. Thus, raising the question in the title.
I can somewhat get the idea behind ripping off a for-profit company for a small amount, though it wouldn’t make the theft any more morally acceptable in my eyes or any less illegal. But we aren’t a for-profit game company like the ones that were across the row from us; we are a fundraising effort for a non-profit group. This is just like taking the retail value of the game set out of the jar we have for cash donations, and it’s just as morally wrong in addition to being against the law.
On top of this, the Texas Penal Code section on theft has a specific provision in it enhancing the charge for those stealing from a non-profit organization to the next higher class of offense. And rightfully so: stealing from a non-profit is a particularly despicable act in just about any decent society, more so than a typical “garden variety” theft.
If anyone out there happens to know anything about the theft or the whereabouts of our game set, I would appreciate the information and I will make sure it gets to the appropriate people.