Thief Steals Des Moines Homeowner’s Presents, Local Non-Profit Helps Replace Gifts

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The countdown to Christmas is exactly one week away and a Des Moines family is scrambling to put presents under the tree after a thief stole their holiday cheer.

Police say the thief made off with $1,500 in gifts and other property after breaking into homeowner Travis Johnson's garage.

"It was all of our presents, all my tools and a new snowblower," he says. "It took all year for us to save up for what we didn't have so we could go shopping, and now we have nothing."

On Friday, Johnson says he and his wife locked the gifts in the garage after an afternoon of shopping and then went out to dinner. They came home to find the padlock to the garage was broken and the gifts missing.

Investigators tell Johnson they believe he was targeted.

"They say someone watched us drive away from the stores we went too, followed us home and waited for us to unload and leave," says Johnson. "They got our Christmas that easy."

As quickly as a Grinch stole Christmas, the kindness of others are helping to restore holiday cheer. On Tuesday, local non-profit Creative Visions donated food, presents and clothing to the family. It's CEO, Ako Abdul-Samad, is encouraging all homeowners to keep an eye on their neighbors, especially during the holiday season.

"If we don't look out for one another, then we all lose," Samad says.

Police have not arrested anyone in connection to the theft.

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