CHAMPAIGN — When burglars stole Christmas gifts from an elderly Champaign couple early Saturday morning, Champaign police were not only anxious to find the bad guys, they wanted to make the couple whole.
Officers were sent to a call in northwest Champaign at 12:23 a.m. of a burglary in progress. According to a Facebook post from one of the officers, the couple hid in a bedroom while the intruder or intruders violated their home.
“The husband is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s and his wife was terrified. The thieves stole the few Christmas presents the couple had for their grandchildren,” according to the officer’s post.
Lt. Jim Clark confirmed that the burglary happened but didn't want to give the couple’s address so as not to subject them to further victimization. He also declined to identify the officer, whose post Clark put on the Champaign Police Department’s Facebook page.
“Our officers were kinda’ mad about that and said we’re going to make sure your grandkids have some presents. They got together among themselves and in a matter of minutes raised $200,” he said.
Clark declined to name any of the officers, saying they didn’t do it for public recognition, and said he wasn’t sure how many of them kicked in to come up with the $200.
The officer who posted the information initially said how proud he or she was to work with such colleagues.
“I asked the folks I work with if they would be willing to chip in a few bucks so we could get this couple a gift card, because it didn’t appear they had a whole lot to begin with. Within just a few minutes, I was able to go to Walmart and purchase a $200.00 gift card for them so they could get their grand kids some new presents. Please, before you curse the cop that writes you a ticket, realize he or she would most likely give his own money to someone he’s never met that is truly in need. Thanks again guys.”
Clark said officers were unable to find the burglars. However, he said the response to the Facebook post was so overwhelming that the department will be accepting donations on behalf of the couple through Friday at its front desk.
“We’ll make sure the family gets it,” said Clark.
And anyone with information on the burglar or burglars is asked to call the front desk at 351-4545 or Crimestoppers at 373-8477.