HICKORY The decorative Santa Claus was still on the front porch, and the wreaths were still in the windows. But the gifts were gone from beneath the Christmas tree.
Paula Hardin, 53, said she came home from work about 4:30 a.m. Monday to find nearly every room in her home ransacked and her 6-year-old daughter’s presents stolen.
“She walked into it, and that’s something she’s never going to forget,” Hardin said.
A Hickory Police Department report states the items stolen included two televisions, jewelry, gift cards, jackets, a checkbook, a cellphone and miscellaneous gifts. Apparently someone had pried open a back door.
After officers left her home in the 2600 block of 16th Avenue Place N.E., Hardin said she went into the kitchen to cook dinner. There, she said she found the thief or thieves even had stolen food from her cupboards.
Hardin said family and friends have overwhelmed her with support on Facebook, over the phone and in person.
She said someone brought her family a television late Monday night, and others were out Wednesday searching for replacement gifts.
“We work hard for everything we have,” Hardin said.
“I’ve never had something like this happen to me, and I just want everybody to be especially careful,” she said.
Hardin said she will use the break-in to teach her daughter to look for the good in bad situations. Whoever broke into her home will not ruin her family’s Christmas, she said.
Hardin said she has already forgiven the people who broke into her home.
“That’s what Jesus would want,” she said. “I just hope that they didn’t trade our gifts for drugs and that their family needed them more than ours did.”
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