Francois and Shally Ung started collecting donations at their doughnut shop last weekend for survivors of the Monterey Park dance studio shootings, nearly a year after 11 people were gunned down at a Lunar New Year's Eve celebration.
And then on Tuesday, Francois Ung says, someone broke into his car and stole the money. Along with his laptop.
The Ungs were raising the money for victims' families and other survivors in the name of Shally's longtime dance partner, Andy Kao, who was killed in the Jan. 21, 2023, massacre at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio. Shally witnessed the shooting.
Around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, Francois Ung said, he arrived at his business, Arcadia Donut, a bit behind schedule. He'd been inside for just a few minutes when he looked up and saw on his security camera someone rushing away from the shop's parking lot.
"I was doing my preparation for the day, I look at my camera and I see someone running. I said, 'Why is he running?' I didn't understand," Ung said.
When he ducked outside, Ung saw that his driver's side window was smashed and the trunk of his car was open. Because he'd been late, he said, he'd forgotten to take his laptop and the money they'd raised into the shop. Both were gone.
He got into his car and drove around to look for the thief in the darkened neighborhood, but police told him to go back to his business so they could take a report. Lt. Tony Juarez with the Monterey Park Police Department said the incident is under investigation.
Ung believes the thief was watching him from the other side of the plaza parking lot when he got to work. He shared a clip of the security footage on his Instagram that shows a masked man smash the car window, pop open the trunk and run away in less than a minute.
Shally Ung was reluctant to seek help coping with the trauma of the shooting, but she's now speaking to a therapist at MPK Hope Resiliency Center about it. After the robbery, a member of the center came by to check on her.
On Wednesday morning she stood before a partially empty donation jar with a photo of Kao's face atop the lid.
"He was a good guy," she said. "Andy was always a nice guy."
The Ungs have started a GoFundMe campaign to recoup the stolen money and pay for the damage to their car.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.