What started out as a heartbreaking Christmas Day for a Sault Ste. Marie family ended up a joyful one, thanks to a group of compassionate Sault Ste. Marie Police Service officers and the Sault Canadian Tire store.
Doris Thompson of Sault Ste. Marie told SooToday.com her daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren, after visiting her home on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, returned to their own centrally-located residence and found they were victims of a break-in.
“Someone had broken into their home and unwrapped their gifts, stole what they wanted, and went into their bedrooms and also stole articles from there,” Thompson told us. “They were devastated that someone would do that to them at any time, let alone Christmas Eve. Their Christmas was ruined.”
The thief - or thieves - went through her grandchildren’s Christmas stockings and stole toys, along with other items such as frying pans, work socks, even a Bible.
Thompson told us: “On Christmas Eve (after the break-in) the officers took time to assure the grandchildren they were safe. They came in and they stayed and spoke with them. The youngest grandchild (a four-year-old boy) was really upset.”
Police told them they were going through the entire house to make sure everyone was safe.
“The police were really good with the family. One police officer told the grandchildren about how they can’t let bad people scare you like that. My youngest grandchild took it the hardest. He couldn’t understand why somebody would come in the house and do that.”
However, the family was pleasantly surprised on the evening of December 25.
Six police officers, one dressed as Santa Claus, brought gifts to the family home. Five police cruisers outside the house put on a show with their lights.
“That was my youngest grandchild’s favourite part,” Thompson said.
Family friends had also arrived Christmas morning with gifts.
Police had gone to Canadian Tire after asking management to open up the store on Christmas Day, obtained gifts from the retailer, wrapped them and delivered them to the family’s home.
Police purchased gifts for the children, while Canadian Tire contributed gifts for their parents.
Thompson said: “There were gift cards, Lego toys and remote control toys for the grandchildren, and for the parents a coffee maker, and a soap-making kit.”
It is not known if a suspect, or suspects, have been found.
The family’s father stated: “For the police, the main focus was on the kids, but they focused on all of us. I broke down and cried when I saw the gifts.”
“We’re grateful to the Police and to Canadian Tire for their involvement, they deserve to be recognized, along with friends of the family who brought gifts Christmas morning,” he continued.
As Thompson describes it: “On Christmas Eve the family had tears of sorrow, and on Christmas night they experienced tears of joy, they were so overwhelmed. They’re all very grateful for the compassion, we’ll never forget the kindness. This was above and beyond the call of duty. This family will never forget Christmas 2012.”