Donation box stolen at performance of Milwaukee Ballet's "The Nutcracker"

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Officials with the Milwaukee Ballet want to know who would steal their donation box at one of its performances.

According to an open letter that was posted to Twitter on Friday, December 19th, someone stolen the donation box at the Thursday performance of "The Nutcracker."  That money comes from audience members who are donating to the annual Stein Angels Foundation -- a program that allows under privileged children the chance to see "The Nutcracker" in person.

"It's really the children's money. We raise that money for the children to enjoy "The Nutcracker." So they're stealing from the children and that's the hardest realization," said Leslie Rivers, marketing manager for the Milwaukee Ballet.

The entire Milwaukee Ballet open letter reads as follows:

Dear person who stole our donations:

Last night, during Act II of The Nutcracker, you saw a box filled with love and generosity, and you took it, thinking it was just easy money

While hundreds of families were inspired to share the magic of The Nutcracker with children who cannot afford a ticket by donating to our Stein Angels Program, were you thinking about these kids?

Did you realize that all the money that you took helps pay for school buses to transport kids to the show because their schools can't afford to? When you lifted the donation box, did you look at the photo of the kids from a school which has cut its art programming?

We look at these photos when it seems like we can't afford to run these programs anymore...and we find a way...because these kids matter. Hundreds of patrons think they matter too, and gave what they could to help.

We hope you look at the donations you stole and consider returning them. You didn't just steal money, you stole opportunity from these kids, many of whom are already struggling. Our address is 504 W. National Ave. Please drop it off. No questions asked. Or simply return it to The Marcus Center.

Milwaukee Ballet

"We really just want to make sure those children get to go to "The Nutcracker." That's all we're concerned about," said Rivers.

You can DONATE to the Stein Angels Foundation and the Milwaukee Ballet via phone, mail, fax or online. CLICK HERE if you'd like to pitch in.