TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Grinch is real, steals presents — and puppy

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, 2:06 p.m.
 

TAMPA — This “Grinch” was a mean one.

Police say burglars broke into a Florida woman's home, stole her two children's gifts from under the tree and snatched the family's puppy.

Melody Russell, a 33-year-old property manager, said the thieves broke into her home northeast of downtown Tampa while she was at work on Monday. She came home and found the back door open, all the presents gone and Honey, their 12-week-old Shih Tzu, missing.

Her two children, 7-year-old Marissa and 5-year-old Marcus, were at her sister's home when the burglary happened. Marissa cried for a half hour when Russell broke the news about Honey.

“My kids are so in love with that puppy,” she said.

The white and tan puppy did not yet have a microchip, Russell said.

Russell said she had bought a handful of modest gifts for each of her children — Nerf guns and slippers and Ninja turtle toys.

“Typical Christmas stuff,” said Russell, who is a single mother. “Nothing extravagant.”

Tampa police are investigating the case — and they tried to save Christmas for the Russell family.

Russell said that after the officers wrote their reports and processed the crime scene in her home, she sat in the living room, praying to God for strength. It was 1 a.m. on Christmas Eve, she said, and the phone rang.

It was a Tampa police officer, telling her that he and his entire squad were coming to her house with gifts.

When police dispatchers and Squad 204 heard about the theft, they quickly chipped in to buy Marissa and Marcus presents.

“Every single one of them had gifts in their hands,” Russell said. “I was so in shock.”

Each present was signed “From Santa.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Who wins, who loses under stricter power plant limits
  2. Hitchhiking robot’s journey west cut short in Philly
  3. Obama orders steeper emission cuts from power plants
  4. Phoenix man accused of beheading wife, dogs jailed on $2M bail
  5. Finish 44-year Hamtramck housing bias case soon, judge tells lawyers
  6. West Virginia on pace to issue record number of concealed-carry permits
  7. Democrats see ‘firewall’ preserving Iran nuclear deal
  8. Construction of giant bridges sparks curiosity, high demand for public tours
  9. CDC: 1 in 5 American adults live with a disability
  10. Veterans notified of info breach in South Dakota
  11. Wreckage from Challenger, Columbia goes on display