Starting over, a burglary victim gets help from a stranger

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 6:42 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Max Fineman’s bedroom is bare today, but not so long ago, it was full of the kinds of things anyone picks up and cherishes as they go through life. Art, souvenirs, family photos, items that belonged to his father who he lost two years ago. He woke up every morning surrounded by memories.

You wake up and you look around and you smile, especially if you have a deceased someone and it’s something they left behind for you.”

But the home in Incline Village which belonged to a family member is being sold. So he packed up everything, plus clothes, his father’s tools, even his beekeeping gear and brought it to a storage unit in south Reno where he thought it would be safe.

Early one morning he got the call. The two locks he’d put on the unit had been cut. The unit had been ransacked. What wasn’t taken had been damaged. Worst of all those personal items were missing.

His case caught our eye and we did a story on a young man who was starting over, soon without a roof over his head, without the personal items which had once greeted him every morning.

One of our viewers was touched by what she heard. She wanted to help. She declined an interview and we don’t know much about her, but we know enough to say with some confidence she’s not a person of means. But she had a stimulus check and wanted to share a few hundred dollars to help Max get a new start.

A check arrived with a card.

”It made me cry when I got it to be honest with you. I heard you lost some very precious items that can never be replaced. I hope over time you’ll be able to remember these items in your heart and that they’re never gone. I hope your tough times will be over soon and until then I hope you know people care.”

This week Reno Police charged the man they believe burglarized Fineman’s unit. Thirty-two-year-old Kyle Tyler Rhodes was already facing stolen vehicle charges. Two counts of burglary have been added. Police believe there were other victims, so more charges are likely.

Fineman said he has conflicting feelings about that news. “I felt bad that he had to resort to stealing. I feel bad about all the victims and his family members. It’s going to hurt a lot of people, not just himself.”

Fineman’s been told some of his items are among those recovered. It’s likely those precious personal items were thrown out and won’t be among them. But he has a new one to remind him of the kindness of someone he’s yet to meet.

“People do care. Who gives money to someone when their stuff is stolen? I’ve never heard of that, never.”

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