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Neighbors Help Newark Family After Christmas Eve Burglary

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Newark Christmas Thefts

Thieves stole Christmas presents from a Newark home on December 24, 2013. (CBS)

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NEWARK (CBS SF) — The community has not allowed a Grinch-like burglar to steal Christmas from one Newark family whose gifts were snatched from under the tree on Christmas Eve, a police officer said Thursday.

The family reported the burglary Christmas morning after they discovered someone had sneaked into their home in the 36000 block of Cherry Street Tuesday night and stolen all the gifts that had been placed underneath the tree, Newark police Officer Ethan Katz said.

Police said the suspect had entered the house through an unlocked window while the family was out at a Christmas Eve event.

The family did not notice the missing gifts until Christmas morning when the two children, a 9-year-old and 11-year-old boy and girl, were alarmed to find an empty tree and an open window, police said.

Police officers working on Christmas Day pooled together $100, which was matched by the Newark Police Association, and the family was given $200.

The community went even further to save Christmas for the family after the news spread about the theft.

Newark residents and businesses stepped up with gifts for the family, which were delivered by officers earlier on Thursday, Katz said.

The family said the holiday had gone from the worst to the best Christmas ever after receiving a carload of donated gifts, Katz said.

Nearly 30 wrapped and unwrapped presents were delivered after community members dropped items off at police headquarters, along with gift cards and cash so that the family could have their Christmas, he said.

He said a few residents had flagged down a police car and handed off gifts for the officers to give to the family.

Katz said there are no leads or information about the perpetrators, who may have been acting alone or in a group.

Other burglaries were reported Monday night in Newark and may be related, police said.

Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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