DALLAS -- A mom in Cleburne, Texas thought her daughters' year-and-a-half exercise of creating their own prize-winning quilts would teach them lessons about hard work and determination. Unfortunately, it also taught them about a lesser human quality when the quilts were stolen after the 2017 Fair season was over.
Marisela Mercado, 13, and her sister Marisol, 12, worked with their aunt to create the quilts. "I really went for red, because red and pink are my favorite colors," Marisela said.
"It was a lot of time and patience and effort," Marisol said.
"I’m super proud of my girls and all the hard work that they put in," said their mom, Monica Donahoe.
Quilts she was so proud of she entered them in a competition at the State Fair of Texas. Marisol won a third place prize. "It was really cool," she said.
And Marisela's pink and red twin-size quilt won a second place ribbon. “It did really good,” she said of the surprise award announcements they received in the mail.
On the day their mom scheduled to go pick them up after the Fair was over, a State Fair of Texas spokesperson says someone broke into the Fair's Creative Arts Building and stole three quilts along with three television sets. All the girls' hard work was gone.
"We cried because we were upset," Marisol said.
"I put a lot of effort and work into that quilt, and it was just taken from me," Marisela added. "I was really upset. It really beat me down."
"It's a proud mom moment when you see their quilts displayed at the State Fair of Texas," Donahoe said. "And to have them taken away, you know, it's not alright, it's not OK."
"I would hope that they would bring them back. I would hope they could find it in their hearts and have compassion for my girls that with all this work they put in that they would return them to us,” Donohoe said.
For its part, the Fair is now offering a $1,000 reward for the return of the quilts. But for a mom who thought quilt-making would teach her girls about hard work and determination, she hopes all the people trying to help them now can teach the girls something else.
"Kind of restoring our faith in humanity that for every bad person there might be a hundred good people. And that kind of makes you feel better about the whole situation."
A situation they hope someone with a bit of compassion can help two young sisters piece that faith in humanity back together again.
In all, three televisions were stolen in the weekend break-in, State Fair of Texas officials said.
There is no surveillance video of the incident, and fair officials say they're looking at adding cameras for extra security in the future.
If you have any information on this crime, you're asked to call Dallas police.