PHOTOS: Theft from Centennial kids leads to ‘community coming together’

Family sees donations, gives proceeds to police union

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Eleven-year-old Asher Swann often sells ice pops in his west Centennial neighborhood in the summer with his younger brother.

After Swann sold the frozen treats at a recent soccer event at Cherry Knolls Park in the Southglenn neighborhood, he told his brother to take their wagon under a tree.

“When we came back, there was no cooler, and the money is gone,” Swann said. His 6-year-old brother was shocked.

His parents helped him file a police report, and Arapahoe County sheriff’s Deputy Bryan Teany came to the family’s home and talked to the kids about what happened. Swann’s mother put out information about the theft on the Nextdoor social media platform.

“The next day, I got an email from the parents” about receiving donations, Teany said. Before long, the family had received more than $1,000 from the public after the kids’ story spread.

“With all the money, I was like, ‘We can’t keep this,’” Swann said.

The family wanted to donate the money to the sheriff’s office — they appreciated how Teany spoke to the kids about what happened. But Teany suggested finding a charitable cause to donate the money.

The Swanns decided to give to the Arapahoe Lodge 31 of the Fraternal Order of Police — the Arapahoe County law enforcement union — to support first responders.

The family gathered Sept. 3 with a group of sheriff’s office personnel at Cherry Knolls Park to thank Teany and present the union with a check for roughly $1,100.

Teany mentioned that the union runs a “9/11 memorial ride” — the organization held a Sept. 11 motorcycle ride fundraiser to benefit the union’s Benevolent Fund, which supports members of Lodge 31 and their families in times of need. The fund also provides financial support to injured officers across Colorado, according to the union’s website.

Swann was taken by the community’s response to the theft at the park.

“The community really came together, really lifted me off the ground — I felt so happy, so cared about,” Swann said.

He learned “that there’s way more good in the world than bad,” he said.

Teany said it’s an example of the “community coming together.”

“The neighborhood rallied around the kids,” Teany said, “and put them in a position to support a worthy cause.”

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