In the wake of a Bingo robbery during a fundraiser for a San Jose marching band, parents on Thursday night decided to spend money on security so that families could feel safe at the weekly games.
Oak Grove High Marching Band Program Director Teresa Moura told NBC Bay Area on Friday that the parents decided to pay for an off-duty police officer and buy surveillance video cameras to install around the high school where bingo games have gone on for 25 years without a problem until a Wednesday night robbery.
She knows that the costs will take away from the fundraising efforts for the school's marching band, but she did say that any money spent on peace of mind was worth it. She also said that all the thousands of dollars in bingo money would no longer be kept in a cash box all night long, and that installments of cash would be brought off-site throughout the evening, as police had recommended.
She's hoping someone in the community will hear the school's pleas for surveillance and get them a good deal on a wireless video system. She's hoping the changes will be in place by next week's bingo game.
"When we decided this, all the parents felt much more secure and were willing to continue working the bingo games," Moura said.
All these security efforts are being made in the wake of a Wednesday night robbery at the high school gym, when a man in a ski mask who claimed to be armed busted through the doors and robbed the bingo fundraiser of an unknown amount of cash.
Police are now looking for a suspect, described as about 6 feet tall, with a slender build and wearing a ski mask.
The 100-or-so people playing the game weren't hurt; some didn't even know that the robber was rifling through the cash box, stealing the funds that help pay for the marching band's uniforms and trips to Spain, France and Italy.
The Oak Grove Band was recognized as the the Top Northern California Marching Band in the Western Band Association for seven of the last 10 years in its division and is a six-time California Colorguard Circuit champion. After Christmas, the band plans to fly to Europe.
"In 25 years, nothing like this has every happened like this," Moura said after the robbery. "Without our bingo money, there is no marching band."
To find out more or donate to the band, visit ogbb.org.
NBC Bay Area's George Kiriyama and Caitlin Matalone contributed to this report.