The award-winning Santa Paula High School marching band was excited to compete in a prestigious national band competition in San Francisco in a few weeks.
Band members, parents and people in the community spent nearly a year raising more than $17,000 for the trip. Last week, the money for the trip was stolen.
After countless bake sells, car washes and more, the last thing students in the band needed to hear was the money's gone. There will be no trip.
Santa Paula Police Chief Steven McLean says his detectives are avidly working to find the person who stole the money. McLean says police are working closely with the band's booster club.
The department has joined efforts with the band and the community to scramble against the clock to raise the funds again for the trip. It's an overwhelming effort with just a few weeks to spare, but they have already raised several thousand dollars.
The band director says the same heart the kids put into winning all of these trophies is the same heart and passion they will put into getting to that concert despite losing all that money.
To make a donation, call the Santa Paula Police Department at (805) 525-4474.