Caught on Camera: Someone is accused of stealing a fourth grader’s science project

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
solar oven thief

Someone was caught on camera grabbing a fourth grader’s science project. That project is due this week, and now the family is rushing to recreate it.

That student has one request for the person who he says stole the project they worked so hard on – bring it back.

Gabriel Tharp is a fourth grade student, and he is worried that if his family cannot remake a solar oven by Tuesday, his only chance of getting into the science fair will be dashed.

Search is on for the woman in the video above. On Sunday afternoon, you can see her get out of her car and grab what is known as a homemade solar oven that was left at the end of the driveway.

The family was testing the boy’s fourth grade science fair project, and to do so, the solar oven needed to be in direct sunlight.

Melissa Tharp is Gabriel’s mother, the young boy who was working on the project. “I was a little surprised. I really didn’t think at first about me placing it so close to the road. That hadn’t crossed my mind as it was just kind of a family Sunday moment,” said Tharp.

The Tharp family has documented every piece of work that he has done on his science fair project. After placing the solar oven in the sun, they went inside. They wanted to grab a phone to record what happened next.

And, despite only being gone less than two minutes, that was enough time for the woman to steal the oven complete with a cupcake baking inside.

“I actually thought for a moment that maybe the wind had a blown it, so I was a little confused when I had seen that it was completely gone and not just moved,” Tharp said.

So, this mother an inside to check her security cameras and saw the woman take the cake.

“Our hope is that it was an innocent mistake. It could easily have been mistaken for the trash. We would just like to hope that somebody sees this and returns it,” said Tharpe.

“It was very cool. If we probably would’ve turned it in, it probably would’ve got first place. Because I got first place last year in third grade, and it was really hard,” Gabriel said.

The Tharp family says they drove around the neighborhood hoping to spot the car the woman was driving but so far, no luck.

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