Thieves steal cancer patient's 'Make a Wish Foundation' gift

TACOMA -- A father and his son who are visiting Western Washington for a bird-watching trip got more than they bargained for when thieves broke into their rental car, stealing cash and their belongings.

It happened in Tacoma Sunday night.

Alex Burdo, 18, and his father, Gerry, said after eating at a Tacoma restaurant, they went outside to their car and noticed thieves had smashed their windows and stole everything they had inside.

The two are in Western Washington from Connecticut for bird watching. It’s a hobby Alex picked up at a young age, and one he says got him through a difficult time in his life.

“In the last six years, birding has given me something to look forward to,” said Alex.

After being diagnosed with cancer, the Make a Wish Foundation granted Alex a wish, including $10,000 in camera equipment to further his bird-watching experiences, but all the items were stolen Sunday night when thieves smashed the window of their rental car.

“It’s hurtful in that he’s fought for so long for so hard and sacrificed so much that the value to someone else wouldn’t be what it is to him,” said Gerry.

Instead of canceling the trip, Alex and his dad decided to stay in Western Washington. They said the Seattle Audubon Society even loaned them some binoculars, so they could continue their bird-watching journey.

In addition to camera equipment, they say the thieves stole a wallet with $10,000 in cash, money they were going to use for the trip.

Alex and his dad say the thieves can keep the cash but say they’d really like the camera and binoculars back because of the special meaning they hold.