JOLIET (STMW) - Will County sheriff’s deputies stepped in to play Santa Claus for a young girl and her family, replacing presents that were taken in a burglary on Christmas Eve.
The family returned to their home on Mills Road in Joliet about 10:20 p.m. on Christmas Eve after visiting relatives to find that someone had kicked open their back door and burglarized the house, according to the sheriff’s office.
The 7-year-old girl and her parents found that burglars had unwrapped all of the presents under the tree and stolen them, including clothes for the girl, an Xbox, a 32-inch TV, a laptop and several pieces of gold jewelry.
Deputy Michael Kane spoke with the little girl, who was distraught over the stolen gifts. Kane, along with deputies Brett Farmer and Mark Tapella, decided to do something.
They collected $600 from 16 on-duty deputies and headed to Walgreens in New Lenox, which was the only store open after 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve. They bought toys, merchandise and gift cards for the family.
A Walgreens employee provided a discount for the entire purchase, and three random citizens shopping in the store all chipped in an additional $20 each.
The deputies wrapped the gifts at the sheriff’s office and delivered them to the family about 1 a.m. on Christmas Day.
“I think seeing the little girl’s reaction reminded us of why we chose this career … to help people,” Deputy Kane said in the statement.