MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Police Department has identified the man who is accused of stealing luggage from a family who visited Memphis to run in the St. Jude Marathon in honor their four-year-old relative who died from Leukemia.
Police say 34-year-old William Canada is a person of interest who is wanted for theft from a vehicle. Canada currently has several arrest warrants to his name for domestic assault, theft of property, burglary of a motor vehicle, evading arrest, theft of property, reckless endangerment, and driving with a suspended, revoke or canceled license.
The Texas runners say their car was burglarized Thursday afternoon outside of Gus’s Downtown. Their windows were bashed in and all their luggage and running gear was taken.
The family told WREG they parked in an alley off Vance Avenue near Front Street around 3:50 p.m. and went into Gus’s to grab a bite.
When they came out around 5 p.m., they said one of their SUV’s windows had been shattered and four suitcases were missing.
“I mean, I just don’t understand why somebody would do that. It doesn’t belong to you, just leave our stuff alone,” said Rachael Olson.
Olson’s niece, four-year-old Austyn Halter, died of leukemia in August after undergoing treatment at St. Jude.
Her family had planned to run in her honor and had even designed custom ‘Austyn Strong’ t-shirts for the occasion.
Those t-shirts were among the items stolen, along with iPads, laptops and a camera filled with pictures of Austyn.
Memphians stepped up to help the grieving family after hearing about their stressful situation.
“It started with St. Jude. They offered to have our car towed and kept it in a safe place for us overnight,” said Austyn’s Aunt Rachel Olson.
After that, the phones kept ringing. Strangers wanting to donate. T-shirt companies and stores offering running shoes and gear.
“My heart just broke for them,” said Ashley Goddard-Tucker with the Goddard Foundation.
The Goddard Foundation out of Cordova is even putting up a reward.
“A thousand dollar reward for the return of their belongings,” said Goddard-Tucker.
The family said they’re full of gratitude and are overwhelmed by the support.
If you have any information on William Canada please call Crime Stoppers at (901)-528-CASH.