Officers replace gifts stolen from foster home

December 21, 2009 8:33:30 PM PST
Thieves almost stole Christmas from some less fortunate children in Galveston. They hit a foster home, stealing gifts and now the community is reaching out to help. The last couple of days have been a roller coaster ride for the Children's Center of Galveston. First, burglars made off with presents for needy children and then officers literally came to the rescue.

The scissors and tape are in high demand at the Children's Center of Galveston as employees are behind schedule. They hoped to have everything wrapped this weekend, but when they arrived Saturday morning, all the presents had been swiped. The nonprofit foster and homeless shelter was burglarized.

"I was very angry of course, then I was frustrated and then confused," said Kristin Gottlob of the Children's Center - Galveston.

Employees say the Christmas spirit took over in a matter of minutes. Once Galveston police officers arrived to take a report, they also made use of their contacts in the community.

"Within 20 minutes, I had 200 hundred presents donated," said one officer. "While one is dusting for prints and the other one is saying we have you covered, it was just like the tears stopped and the smiles came out and it made things okay." said Gottlob.

By Monday afternoon, a truckload of gifts was pulling up to the back door and officers began unloading bags and bags of toys.

"Luckily, with our Blue Santa program, we had enough toys to cover some of the kids," said Lt. DJ Alvarez of the Galveston Police Department.

So as the gift bags began to fill the main room at a place that cares for the needy in Galveston, employees started wrapping. For a Christmas at the Children's Center that was once ruined, it's now turned out better than planned.

"We don't always know the reason why things happen the way they do, but once you get to the other side it's usually for the best," said Eliza Quigley of the Children's Center of Galveston.

The foster home is still in need of gifts for kids 14 and above and they are asking for gift cards to Wal-Mart and Target. One final note on the center, it has been open for 131 years.

Anyone with any information about the crime is asked to call Galveston police at 409-765-3772.


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