Grinch is real, steals presents — and puppy
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.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- IRS calls right-wing Republicans ‘crazies’ in emails
- State Dept: ‘No American is proud’ of CIA tactics
- Law enforcement, intelligence agencies want to ‘like’ you on social media
- Ground Zero ship dated to 1773
- Tea Party opposition threatens House GOP’s border bill
- 6 narcotics officers charged with racketeering
- House’s vote to sue Obama is historic foray into checks, balances
- $17B emergency funding for Veterans Affairs health care system passes House, heads to Senate
- Witnesses added for Benghazi hearing
- Charges against Fla. mom raise ire
- Flat-out ‘miracle’ spares women on railroad span