By Jamey Boyum
LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - It's as bad as stealing candy from a baby. Nearly fifteen thousand dollars worth of gifts have been taken from the Gregg County Child Welfare Board sometime overnight. Stored in a warehouse in northwest Longview, the presents were nearly ready to go to children in foster care in the Gregg County Area.
So, yes Virginia, there is a Grinch.
And, he is a reality about 200 times over. Foster Children from all over Gregg County and beyond could wake up Christmas morning with no visit from Santa. Paula Hayes with Gregg County Child Welfare Board says at least one of the kids is wheelchair bound.
"He lives in Houston, but he's one of our kids. And, to keep him in a wheelchair, he can't sit up straight so they prop him in with pillows, and all he asked for Christmas was pillow pets to use to get propped up by, and some CDs," Paula said.
His gifts were sitting just inside the storage unit, and now they're gone.
"And another little child, he's blind, and he wanted a UT orange Texas Blanket even though he couldn't see it..and he wanted a boom box, he wanted the blanket and he wanted Christian CDs because that's his favorite music and they took that," Paula said.
And that's only two of the kids. They also had electronics like X-boxes, Play Stations, and games that were purchased before stores started running out.
"We know that they took at least eight iPods. There were about four laptops taken. For some reason they left one or two. There were some small TVs that were taken. In one part of me I'm sorry for them that they would sink this low for money when they're probably going to use it for drugs or alcohol, something they don't need. I feel like they need to be caught, they need to go through the court system and they need to be punished for what they've done," Paula said.
Normally they have the gifts ready to go by next weekend, so this year Christmas may be late, if it comes at all, for hundreds of needy children in foster care.
"It just makes you want to cry," she added.
Paula thinks the thieves left about fifteen percent behind only because they couldn't carry all of it.
If you are in a position to help, donations can be dropped off at Racquet and Jog at 1419 west Loop 281 in Longview.
Monetary Donations can be made out to the Gregg County Child Welfare Board and left at Racquet and Jog or mailed to P.O. Box 151175, Longview, Texas 75615.
To hear a detailed list of some of the items needed, watch video above.