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Citizen soldier suffers loss at home

SELMA — Saving up the money he could in six months, after taking out money to sustain himself and his 2-year-old daughter from his earnings at the Citgo on West Highland, Anthony Harrison purchased a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria and poured time and $7,000 of upgrades into the car.

Then, on Dec. 23, his car was stolen.

“Mr. Harrison reported his car stolen to the Sheriff’s Department on Dec. 23,” Sgt. Burt Allison said. “We put the car’s information into [National Crime Information Center] and sent out local all points bulletins.”

According to authorities, Harrison wasn’t the first intended victim. In the area that night there had been several attempted break-ins of vehicles.

“We don’t think that Mr. Harrison was singled out,” said Chief Deputy Randy Pugh. “It seems to be a crime of opportunity because a couple of other cars were broken into that night.”

This crime comes only two weeks before the mother of his daughter, Jennifer Anderson, deploys for Iraq with the National Guard.

Harrison is also a member of the National Guard. His unit was set to leave for Afghanistan in February, but was taken off alert status last month.

“So, now I’m waiting to see what they’ll do,” Harrison said.

If both Anderson and Harrison are deployed simultaneously, Harrison’s family will care for daughter America Anderson in their absence.

If Harrison is able to stay in Selma for an extended period of time without deployment, he would like to get a full-time position as a correctional officer.

Although his father will purchase him another car, Harrison is determined to pay back all the money for the car.

“I’m supposed to be getting a car next month,” Harrison said.

Until then, he must rely on borrowing cars from family members or getting rides from friends and co-workers.

All his co-workers are trying their best to support him and cheer him up, offering him rides to work or helping to care for his daughter.

“We’ve just been there for him, offering our help to him,” said Shawna Parrish, a co-worker. “He won’t accept much from us.”

They watched his excitement as he was able to purchase the car with his savings, and saw how much his heart was broken when it was stolen from him, said assistant manager Lisa Bickerstaff.

“We’ll do anything we can for him,” Bickerstaff said. “He’s a hard worker and an honest person.”