Donation jar collecting funds for headstone stolen, thief sought

TROY, N.Y. — Troy police are asking for help from the public in identifying a man they say stole a fundraising jar from a local gas station.

“I came to pick up the jar. It was here about a week. I came to pick it up and it was gone,” said 23-year-old Shawn Papielion who set up the fundraising jar at the station to raise money for a friend's headstone.

He said he called police right away when he realized the fundraising jar went missing. The jar was meant to help the family of 23-year-old John Patenaude afford a headstone. Patenaude died in March.

Police tell the NEWS CENTER the suspect entered the station a little before 6 a.m. on Wednesday. Captured on a surveillance camera, the man can be spotted walking into the Citgo gas station on 5th Avenue with an apron over his shoulder. While the man was buying lottery tickets and a newspaper, he put the apron over the tip jar that was sitting on the counter and walked out with it.

The suspect is described as a black male with a large build, between the ages of 20-30. He was wearing a red shirt with corn rows in his hair.

The owner of the gas station, who wasn't working at the time, said he usually knows his customers, but the suspect doesn't look familiar.

Friends will have a BBQ fundraising event for Patenaude on Saturday at 488 Brunswick Rd. in Troy with a $25 entry fee, or you can contact Papielion by email at

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