Unwelcome Surprise
An 11 year old Brandon boy continues to recover after happening upon a home robbery in progress last Sunday morning. The masked robber attacked the boy, threw him to the ground and punched him in the chest.  As the boy tried to scramble to his feet and run out of the home, the robber then fled on foot, leaving the boy injured and alone.  The burglar is described as a heavy set young adult with a dark complexion. Police responded to the 911 call and continue to gather evidence and search for the thief. The Boy was caring for several dogs in the home while the owners were away over the weekend.  The boy had asked friends and neighbors for odd jobs to earn money for his first cell phone.  The dog sitting gig was the first paying job of his life.

A Planned Robbery?
The idea of a Sunday morning robbery in the sleepy town of Brandon is surprising enough, but when you hear who owned the home, it takes another disappointing turn.  The home belongs to Cathijo McGee, a single Mom, who also takes in foster children.    As a local Children's Pastor, she was told by police that her home could have been seen as a target while the family was away on Sunday mornings.  Cathijo is a personal friend of mine and it's hard to understand why someone who gives so much to so many could be the target of crime and violence.  She says, "I don't care about the stuff, the damage or the huge mess.  The fact that a child was hit in my house is the biggest issue here.  He was doing the right thing, honestly earning money.  The focus of what happened needs to be on him."

Odd Items Taken and Left Behind
The masked robber ransacked the garage, dumping items out of bins of clothes for future foster children needs.  Bins missing are labeled "Foster girl size 6/8" and other children's clothing sizes.  The intruder was likely in the process of making piles of items to steal throughout the home, until he fled when being interrupted.  Christmas gifts had been piled up, electronics and other items.  Meanwhile the family upon returning was surprised to see an old electronic item left behind that didn't belong to them.  One of the items the robber did get away with was broken stereo equipment.

Recovering from the Shock and Violation
Cathijo and her family understandably have an array of thoughts and feelings about the robbery.  They joke about the fact that a robber could think there was anything of value in a home with a single Mom and 10 kids.  A portion of their Christmas money was diverted to getting new locks on doors.  As I spoke with the family of the boy who had been attacked, his Mom said he was really shook up at first, but is doing better now.  He continues to look for odd jobs with friends and neighbors to earn money for his first cell phone.

The Community Gathers to Support
Friends are gathering funds to help with expenses.  Any donations can be made through Brandon Valley Assembly of God.

If you have any details that could assist in solving this crime, please contact the Brandon, SD Police Department at 582-6125.