Grinch strikes, East Texans rescue family's Christmas

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The anticipation of Christmas morning was cut short this week when burglars turned an East Texas family's home into their personal store.

Police say the thieves made off with all of the wrapped gifts, and almost anything of value. But Christmas morning will, once again, be one of joy.

It was a house the Velazquez family turned into their home, finished in time for six-year-old Estephanie and four-year-old Esteban to celebrate Christmas. But Monday, it became the Christmas that almost wasn't.

"This is the door that they came in through," said Ericka Velazquez.

Kicked in and splintered. Inside, Ericka didn't recognize her home.

"I walked throughout the house and started seeing the jewelry everywhere," she said.

The thieves took TV's and jewelry, hitting every room, even Esteban's.

"They left the piece here I guess they just yanked it," says Ericka.

The Velazquez tree sat in the living room and their presents were nowhere to be found.

"We go in there and the first thing I notice is it just looks sad, I mean, everything, all the presents gone," said Tyler Police Officer Scott Behrend.

Officer Behrend and Matthew Leigeber were called in to investigate.

"You never know when you go to calls some of them really kind of blindside you," said Behrend.

Even without an arrest, they knew they could help.

"We started burning up the phones trying to see if there was just one way we could help this family have a better Christmas," Leigeber explained.

And now they will.

"I started bawling," said Ericka. "It was hard to talk it was hard to talk and tell them thank you."

"It was the best feeling in the world honestly," Behrend said.

"My Christmas has already come and gone this is it ya know this has been the best Christmas ever," Leigeber added.

It is a Christmas blessing felt on both sides.

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