Thief in San Ramon steals $11K in items set aside for foster kids

A thief broke into a San Ramon storage unit and stole items that had been earmarked for foster children in the East Bay.

"Certainly we'd love to get the materials back, "said Phil Henderson of Danville. "I suspect they aren't around anymore - they're already sold, maybe online, maybe at a flea market of some kind."
Henderson and his wife Lisa run Set to Thrive, which gives foster children custom "thrive bags" filled with items to help make their situation a little easier.

But arouind June 23, a burglar broke into eight units at ExtraSpace Storage on Deerwood Road in San Ramon, stealing backpacks, hygiene items and clothing for children, from newborns to 18 years old.

"We opened up the unit, and our lock was cut and put on the ground," Phil Henderson said. 

"We realized that yes, somebody clipped the lock, and stole about $11,000 worth of inventory," Lisa Henderson said.

"'I'm sure they don't know who they were stealing from. But who they ended up stealing from was set to thrive a nonprofit that's trying to do good for foster kids in the community," Phil Henderson said.

"We work very hard to get the donations of new items so we can bring some comfort and confidence," his wife said.

She says foster kids can be thrust into unfamiliar surroundings with little or no warning. Set to thrive tries to help ease their anxiety with essential items.

"A lot of kids they don't pack the right things, I get orders all the time, ‘Child has no shoes, child has what they have on,’ and that's why we pack up the bags," she said.

For some, the thrive bags children get are a welcome departure from what they may get in the system.

"It's traumatic if they don't have a bag. They usually use a pillowcase - or given a trash bag," she said.

San Ramon Police Chief Denton Carlson said, "We've been able to develop a very strong lead in this case."

He credited surveillance footage and evidence left in the storage unit for progress in the investigation.

"If we can get the property back to them, they're trying to do a good thing for the community, so it's our job to help support them," the chief said.

Henry Lee is a KTVU crime reporter. E-mail Henry at and follow him on Twitter @henrykleeKTVU and