“I just came from the bank to get $100 to donate to the Salvation Army,” said Melanie Gates at the Salvation Army’s annual luncheon on Christmas day. “As I was walking along the trolley tracks, a guy in an all-black outfit grabbed my bag and started running toward the jail. I think he saw me at the ATM.”

Walking toward the City Administration Building on C Street were two elementary school students wearing elf outfits and red pointed caps. Their grandmother accompanied them. The thief started running west on C Street as the boys were walking east.

After Gates yelled “Stop that guy! He stole my bag,” one of the “elves,” a boy about 12 years old, stuck his foot out and tripped the thief. The other boy grabbed the purse. Many pedestrians on the way to the Christmas luncheon saw the incident, but no one reacted faster than the thief, who got up and ran away north on First Avenue.

The grandmother and the boys wanted to hurry to get into the banquet hall before the doors were closed.

“Just to thank the boy, I’m giving him $20,” said Gates. “It’s just too bad that the thief was quick to get up and run away before the cops were called.”
 Gates said she didn’t want to ruin her Christmas with having to deal with the police.

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Forgive me, Noel, but this sounds so much more like a film treatment scene than a real event! ;)

The only mugging I've ever witnessed here in SD was many years ago, also along the trolley tracks, though further east on "C," and just west of 10th and the City College stop. Interesting that this guy was also dressed in all black.

Thanks for the comment SDaniels. You are very pretty.

However on my stories, I try to obtain at least 3 witnesses. Yet my dear editor likes to cut out a lot of my background info and quotes. He also does not use the pictures that support the story.

At least you have seen a mugging and that is a common event downtown with a lot of homeless people in black. They also carry black backpacks that have been donated this past Christmas.

I am researching for a feature story on solving homelessness as well as the $5-billion rip off of mass transportation funds. So I have first hand experience with these events as well as getting lots of leads from over 200 students that became leader interns last semester. They are forming grant teams in each zip code to channel more funds into programs and projects in this county. I also share with them at least $25 on my published story for their tips and info.

I will post the link to a longer feature detailed version of this story along with the pictures that my editor did not use.

You have some great writing. Would you like to be a guest speaker in our grant meetings that we conduct via conference calls of up to 250 attendees at least 3 times a day? You get compensated for your time.

Looking forward to meeting you. Best regards!

Noe Gallego Contract Contributing Writer 619-674-7713 [email protected]

Hey Microsoft/Noel! Thanks for the compliments, but I honestly don't know what I'd talk about. I am neither a journalist nor a grant writer, have never written anything even slightly journalistic or grant-seeking (unless you count my messages on the Reader seeking the opinion of one MsGrant), and simply witnessed a man in black clothing steal the bag of an elderly gent with a cane--at least a decade ago. I do applaud your efforts, however; let us know what happens with your event. ;)

I think this mugger needs some more Vitamin D because a couple of kids tripped him up. Thank goodness for Santa's little helpers.

I think the $25 bonus program is the easiest $25 I ever made. Thanks for the WVSN Mentoring Adults Program (MAP).

I think SDaniels knows how to put ideas in writing. That's a good mentoring skill.

So now I am a bit confused: Francisco's "MAP" program is connected somehow to Noel's project with student interns forming grant teams?

What projects do you and the students look to try to underwrite, Noel?

Re: Francisco's comment: I have taught university more recently, as a part of my own grad studies and outside of my program as well, but did a lot of mentoring of high school students while in college myself, and tutored writing projects all the way through college, at City and UCSD.


A grinch in black tried to steal Christmas cash from Melanie Gates near the Salvation Army Christmas Lunch on December 25, but was foiled by some student elves. The annual luncheon at the San Diego Civic Center, on its 38th year, went on as scheduled.

“I just came from the bank to get $100 to donate to the Salvation Army,” said Gates. “As I was walking along the trolley tracks a guy in an all black outfit grabbed my bag and started running towards the jail. I think he saw me at the ATM [Automated Teller Machine]. ”

Walking from the Law Library on 1150 Front Street and right in front of 110 West C Street towards the Civic Center were two elementary school students about 12-years old and their grandma in elf outfits with red pointed caps. As Gates yelled, “Stop that guy! He stole my bag,” one quick thinking young boy stuck his foot out and tripped the grinch trying to steal the Christmas cash. The other young boy grabbed the purse but was too small to hold on to the thief.

“We just came from the parking lot to go to the lunch and get some gifts,” said Robert Borja. “We wanted to dress up like elves to meet Santa Claus. But guys in black I don’t like. ”

The perpetrator had grabbed the purse near the trolley tracks in front of the Convention Center by First Avenue and C Street and started running west as the boys were walking east. Many pedestrians on the way to the Christmas luncheon saw the boy trip the thief but the incident happened too fast for them to react as the thief recovered and ran away heading north on First Avenue.

The grandma and the boys wanted to hurry to get into the banquet hall before the doors were closed. The luncheon went on as planned at noon with greetings from such famous volunteers such as District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and San Diego City Mayor Sanders. The crowd served by 715 volunteers numbered 1961 according to Salvation Army Public Relations Intern Photographer Jennifer Young.

“How does it feel to have the District Attorney wish you a Merry Christmas,” said Dumanis. “Thank you to all the volunteers and helpers on Christmas Day!”

On schedule Robert Borja and his grandma with red elf hats enjoyed the lunch served by volunteers such as Erick Erickson the San Diego Concourse Assistant Facility Services Manager. He said he has been volunteering seven years.

“Just to thank the young boy I’m giving him $20,” said Gates. “It’s just too bad that the thief was quick to get up and run away before the cops were called.”

Gates said she didn’t want to ruin her Christmas with having to deal with the police since everything turned out all right. She got to donate the money to the Salvation Army Christmas Lunch Program.


As for the grant projects we are always on the lookout for more projects to get funding. Usually non profit projects that help the community.

Hey Micro Noel,

Who sponsors the Mentoring Adults Program, then? Are these the students involved in grant writing projects? Is it a way for the students to prepare for college, once they get the GED/diploma, or is it a class in grant writing for which may earn transferable college credits?

I did the M.A. as a part of my doctoral program in Comp Lit (Comparative Literature). I'm stillllll working on the doctorate ;)

The MAP is sponsored by many non profit global networks.

There's new funding for a new type of World Vision Support Network (WVSN) which just expands the similar goals of the www.worldvision.org and the worldvisionmicro.org to help children and poor adults in other parts of the world.

WVSN focuses on the MAP program and officially starts this month. Still being formed are the members of the Board of Directors. MAP just uses people who have achieved their higher education and are willing to guide others who have the same goals. They are compensated for the time. Like an adult version of Big Brothers or Big Sisters.

Also supporting MAP are the non profit Microsoft Mindshare Program and the USAToday Association of professional media willing to mentor other as well at the Gannett Association Network.

WVSN has funded regular conference calling number where up to 250 students can chat about the various grant projects and there are motivational speakers who either volunteer their time or can also be compensated.

Of course WVSN also has outreach meetings at communities and eventually each zip code. That's why SDReader is a great publication to work with since they have the website with community stories.

I would like to invite you to get involved especially since you are working on your Ph.D. That is something I would like to get one of these days.

The MAP prepares students to gain community leadership skills to be able to obtain scholarships and grants for their certifications, AA, BS, MS and Ph.D. since President Obama wants everyone in the USA to be the leaders in education to lead other countries in this global economy via the Internet.

If you don't want to live in cheaper India or Mexico, you have to have more than a high school diploma or GED. Minimum wage just is not enough to survive in expensive San Diego.

I have several brothers who look like me since we were multiple-birth raised apart that are trying to expand the MAP Project in 10 target states for 2010: WA, TX, OH, NC as primaries and AZ, CA, FL, GA, GU, NV as secondary states.

Noe Gallego [email protected] 619-408-9561 (Lost my other cell phone number so I got a new one.)

How's it going with the MAP Association Noe?

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