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Money Taken from Nonprofit During Big Payback Fundraiser -- Eric Alvarez

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. A day of giving turned into a possible crime for one Nashville non-profit.

While The Big Payout campaign, organized by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee brought in more than $1.5 million for hundreds of middle Tennessee charities, Nashville non-profit Julies Village says a volunteer stole more than $200 in donations.

     It all started with a Craigslist ad asking for volunteers for a Tuesday yard sale.

Julies Village founder Julie Hamilton says she got a call from a stranger with a sympathetic story.

"She told us about her children about they're physically challenged and that she had lost one, Hamilton said.

That story struck a chord with Hamilton, who founded the Julies Village to help new mothers who have trouble breastfeeding their babies.

I suffered greatly trying to nurse my twins so I founded the organization so that other moms would not go through what I did, Hamilton said.

The yard sale went on without a hitch, bringing in hundreds of dollars...at least that's how it seemed

"Towards the close of the yard sale we decided to count our money and we realized that our cash was gone, Hamilton said.  "The only thing we had left was our change.

More than $200 went missing, and the volunteer they'd just met that day left without saying goodbye.

That's when the red flags came into focus.

"When she called it was a blocked number," Hamilton said.  "She kept doing things around the money bags.

But Hamilton says a few hundred dollars wasn't worth threatening the massive donation drive that was sweeping middle Tennessee.

"We discussed filing a police report but we were afraid that it would affect the big payback," Hamilton said. 

The Big Payback brought in close to $1.5 million for 525 charities in just 24 hours.

Hamilton says one bad act doesn't dim the overwhelming support of midstate families.

"Middle Tennessee has a high rate of volunteerism and generosity and seeing that yesterday, that was awesome," Hamilton said. 

Despite what happened, Julies Village brought in $5,675 in donations Tuesday.

On Wednesday friends just set up an online donation page to help them recover the money they say left in the pockets of that stranger

To help the charity recoup its loss, visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/charity-yard-sale-robbery.

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