SOLANA BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) – Heartbreak for young dancers at a Dia de los Muertos event in Solana Beach, as a dance troupe’s custom-made costumes disappeared while they performed.
Photos taken from that day of dancing two Sundays ago at a Solana Beach park show smiling faces and colorful costumes.
But when the music stopped, there was a wrenching discovery.
“I was looking at everything, and of course, I start crying,” said Elba Montes.
Montes, who founded Grupo Jalisciense Folklórico three decades ago, says her dancers had performed for about 10 minutes, when they headed back to their canopy area. Her young dancers were the first to notice.
All the students that want to perform said, ‘My clothes are not here,’” said Montes. “So, I’m looking right away for the suitcase. Nothing. All this disappeared.”
A backpack and a suitcase were gone. Inside, some 20 necklaces, personal clothes, and five authentic Mexican dresses, custom-made and embroidered in a town in western Mexico. The total loss was more than $2,000.
Montes had to break the news to five kids that they wouldn’t be dancing.
“I say, ‘Sorry, you can’t perform, because they steal the costumes,’” said Montes.
Montes’ dance troupe is 25 dancers strong, with ages ranging from 3 to 59.
But most of her dancers are low-income youth, many of them with disabilities.
“When you see them performing, you feeling happy, because you make a difference in their lives,” said Montes.
Montes filed a report with with deputies, but so far, there has been no sign of the costumes. For now, some of her kids won’t be dancing.
“At least five have to wait in the corner,” said Montes.
Montes is now making a direct plea to the thief or thieves.
“Please return it, because we need it … I want a miracle, a miracle,” said Montes.
Anyone with information on the case can call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477,
A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help cover the cost of new costumes.