As police continue to investigate a reported theft from the construction site where volunteers are expanding the Berks County home of Derrick Redcay, family members of the now-paralyzed teen aren't letting the crime dampen their spirits.
"We're not going to let one bad apple ruin the great project that's going on here," said Brian Redcay, Derrick's father. "We see as a whole, this community is great, and being held together, and coming to our aid to help keep us up right."
Police said the theft was reported Tuesday morning by Michael Zimmerman with Jeff Zimmerman Masonry, a voluntary subcontractor on the Muhlenberg Township project.
Zimmerman reported that last Wednesday afternoon, someone stole a red metal case containing a Hilti hammer drill worth $1,000 and a yellow DeWalt radio, valued at $150, from the site on Alexander Drive.
There, workers are building an addition on the home for Derrick, 18, as he remains hospitalized, paralyzed from the neck down after suffering a rare stroke on April 24.
"The family has gone through so much, and to do something like this, you couldn't have a heart," said neighbor Misty Bruinsma. "My thoughts and prayers are with the family, and I hope they catch who did this."
Fortunately, the theft isn't deterring construction.
"Work is on schedule and going very well," said John Smith, vice president of Forino Company, the project's lead renovator.
Smith said the addition, which includes a living room, bedroom, bath, and deck area, will be completed by the time Derrick returns home. The family expects that will be on or shortly after July 4.
"It's starting to get to the point where we can feel this [addition] will be Derrick's home. He will be home here where he belongs," said Redcay.