Three men were arrested Friday in connection with the theft of gift cards worth nearly $22,000 that were intended for a Petaluma school fundraiser.

The theft occurred around 5:15 a.m. Thursday after Heidi French, a parent in charge of selling gift cards to support Meadow School, had loaded the box of gift cards and a handful of checks into her car, according to Waugh Superintendent Bob Cmelak. French locked the door, went briefly into the house and returned to find the car open and the box gone, Cmelak said.

Some of the stolen gift cards were discovered Friday when a Petaluma police officer was called to the Kohl's store on McDowell Boulevard for an unrelated petty theft. The officer found gift cards on Robert Reid, 20, and Andre Rojas, 22, both of Petaluma, and arrested the men on suspicion of possession of stolen property.

Police then obtained a warrant to search the residence of Zach Fortune, 18, in the 200 block of Hill Boulevard in Petaluma and recovered more of the cards. Fortune was arrested on suspicion of burglary, possession of stolen property and possession of medications.

By Friday night, police said 650 of the approximately 900 cards were recovered. The remaining cards were entered into a national database as stolen and the involved stores were notified.