Police Save Christmas After Mother Has Gifts Stolen From Trunk Of Car

Published: .
Updated: .

An attempt to preserve the surprise of Christmas for her kids made a Licking County mother the target of a thief. Someone made off with all of her family's holiday gifts.

While police haven't solved the mystery of who's responsible, they have solved this mother's most pressing problem- what to give her kids.

Misty Anderson was trying to outsmart her kids, by hiding their Christmas presents in her trunk.

"My children are 2, 4, and 6 - my youngest,” said Anderson. “And they get into everything. There's just nowhere you can hide them that they're safe."

But protecting the surprise of Christmas morning left her exposed to a thief.

"I got up in the morning and came to work, and went to get my boss's present out of my trunk and my trunk was empty," she said. "I just started crying. Because it was everything- for all of our- we have four daughters, four children, and everything was gone."

While she acknowledges her own mistake, she can't believe someone is callous enough to literally steal her family's Christmas.   
"It's just kind of disgusting that somebody would steal from children. I mean, people steal from adults and businesses, and they have their reasons for it, but there's just never a reason to steal from children."
Anderson called the Newark Police Department to file a police report. All she expected to get was documentation of her loss.

She was happily mistaken.

In a dark room inside the police department, Cheri Caudell and her daughter Ashley have a stash of toys to rival Santa's workshop.

It's where she runs the police department's annual toy drive, started 30 years ago by her mother.

"My mom, Bonnie Diehl, was the Chief's secretary at the time,” said Caudell. “And an officer came in and said ‘I have just been to a house where Santa's not going to visit.’ And my mom said, ‘that's not going to happen.’"

The officer who took Misty's theft report connected her to Cheri.

"She was crying,” said Cheri.  “She was very upset. And if it was me, I'd be upset too."

Cheri knew what she had to do.

"We're going to help,” she said. “No doubt about it. That's what we're here for. She instantly became a part of what we do."

"My children's Christmas- it's saved!" said Misty. "It makes me see all the good that's still in the world. And all the good that's still in our town."

The Newark Police Toy Drive helps provide gifts for nearly 400 people.

They are accepting donations of toys and cash through Christmas Eve.

If you'd like to help, call Newark Police.