Police and the family of Cameron Truesdale have called for restraint following the theft of a charity box raising money for Cure4Cam.
And police have asked the culprit to turn himself in, pointing out they cannot “protect someone we don’t know from community anger”.
The theft happened from a kebab shop in Dromore in the early hours of Wednesday morning (September 12).
It came just days after 13-year-old Cameron was buried, after losing his 20-month battle against an aggressive brain tumour.
His family had launched a fundraiser under the banner Cure4Cam raising in excess of £100,000 to fund groundbreaking treatment in Mexico.
As part of that effort collection boxes were placed in many business premises across the Lurgan, Banbridge and Dromore areas as well as further afield.
On Wednesday morning one of those boxes was stolen - prompting widespread anger.
Police said on Wednesday: “Shortly before 3.30 am, we received reports of a burglary at Poyraz Kebab shop in Dromore. The door had been forced and windows smashed. Initially, we believed that a tip jar had been stolen.
“Sadly though, further details emerged. NO burglary is ever acceptable, but what we now know was taken makes this particularly sickening.
“No one will be unaware of the story of Cameron Truesdale, the young Waringstown lad who at only 13 lost his battle to a brain tumour and was laid to rest on Sunday. He was initially given nine months. He fought bravely for 20.
“This morning brought further information that alongside the tip jar, the charity box was also stolen. The imagery there speaks for itself. A business serving the community and helping the community losing both the money they raised, and tips the appreciative public gave them. It is a particularly personal attack and loss.
“Thankfully, our CSI went out this morning and didn’t leave empty handed. He left with blood swabs from a deposit left by our suspect.
“This isn’t appeal just for info - we’re fairly confident that most people in the area will have seen the footage circulating and that if you know him, you’ll be in touch.
“This is an appeal to the person responsible. You have made a grave mistake here. Whatever it is you desperately need money for, there is help out there for you, help which we can sign post you towards.
“What we cannot do is protect someone we don’t know from community anger. There is no doubt that someone will recognise you. A wise choice would be to quickly and quietly bring yourself to Lurgan or Banbridge station and hand yourself in.
“There is understandable anger out there. As a parent, when I heard about this, my fists clenched. What those close to Cameron and the family will be feeling now will be off the scale, and no one can blame them for that.
“We urge restraint and calm at this time. No violence can in any way pay tribute to such a brave and happy young lad. If anyone has any information, pass it to us straight away. You can PM us, or better still call 101. The reference number is 122 of today, 12/09/18.” In a post in response to the appeal Cameron’s father Hammy Truesdale made his own brave appeal for calm and told police; “Thank you for your swift response and can I also ask for restraint at this time.
“I won’t lie this morning I was ready for war but that’s not what Cameron would want so all I want is the box returned because each piece of this journey is special to us.”