Thousands of dollars stolen from local dance studio - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Thousands of dollars stolen from local dance studio

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Parents and students of The Elite Dance Studio in Lake Charles are heartbroken after thousands of dollars they raised toward a summer trip to Puerto Rico was stolen Friday during a fundraiser. 

"For someone to walk through those doors, a place that's supposed to be safe and take something from someone who is just like them...it's saddening," said Helen Daniel, executive director of the studio. . 

While the studio's primary focus is competition and dance, Daniel said her role as the leading figure in her students' lives is to show them more than just that. 

"Every year, I take my kids on a trip because I feel like exposing our children to something greater than themselves helps them to become better," said Daniel. 

In years past, they've been as close as New Orleans and as far away as Hawaii. With this year's trip to Puerto Rico, they've been fundraising for months. 

Their most recent fundraiser was on Friday, a community dance at the studio. In a matter of moments, the students say, all their fundraising efforts went down the drain. 

"The dance was going on and my mom had come upstairs and she left someone down there and an individual came in and took the money from her and got in a car and left," said dance student Jamila Daniel.

Daniel contacted police who are now conducting an investigation into the theft. The dancers have come to terms that their money is gone.

"The money's a lost cause we know that," said Jamila. "Once they got that, they ran with it". 

But their determination to get to Puerto Rico is still as strong as before. 

"It's going to take a lot of hard work but we will go on this trip," said Deja Williams. "It's a must and it's going to happen." 

"At the end of the day, the show will go on ... make no doubt about that, it will happen," Daniel said. 

The money that was taken was from Friday's fundraiser, previous fundraiser's and even down payments on the trip, totaling over $2,000. The studio says their fundraising efforts over the next few months will kick into high gear to make sure their trip can become a reality. 

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved. 

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