It was money that was going to charity, a collection from anonymous donors moved to reach into their wallets by the monumental effort of one high school kid who simply wanted to do some good.
Then, poof! Gone. Just like that.
Nik Duritza, a 17-year-old senior who strung together 45,000 Christmas lights, timed it to music and offered it up free to everyone in hopes of raising some money for area needy families, said he did not believe it was true when his father broke the news to him.
On Friday night, sometime around 11 p.m. as was coming to a close for the night, someone had stolen the donation box, ripped it right out of the ground. Nik doesn’t know how much money was in the box at the time, but he knows the families he was raising the money for were shortchanged because of it.
“It’s hard to comprehend that someone would do that,’’ Duritza said.
It is the to raise money for the Snowflake Project, a charity organized at Wall High School that raises money for needy families. Last year, Duritza said he raised about $4,000 for the charity. This year, he hopes to bring in $5,000.
A police report was filed, but without someone coming forward, there’s little chance that the crime will be solved.
“This is something that breaks our hearts, but not our spirits,’’ said Angela Duritza, Nik’s mother.
The show will go on, Nik Duritza said. A new donation box has been procured, and it’s cemented into the ground. Duritza’s light show will continue from 5 to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and until 11 p.m. weekends at 2409 Riverside Terrace.
“We’re still kicking here,’’ Duritza said. “It’s just a little bump, and we’ll get through it.’’