Wanda Lopez got a gut-wrenching surprise when she returned to her La Verne home on Sunday after running some errands. Burglars had forced their way into her house and stolen all of the presents under her Christmas tree.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do with for my grandkids,” she said. “I didn’t even want to go to their house or anything because, going empty-handed – you don’t do that as a grandmother.”Lopez reported the burglary to the La Verne Police department, whose response was in keeping with the holiday spirit: Officers donated cash and gift cards from Target, Vons and Best Buy to the distraught grandmother, to help replace the stolen items.
“The first thing I thought about was: What if this was my grandmother, my family?” said Officer Jay Alvarado. “I kind of got a little choked up.”
Alvarado and his partner, Officer Eric Eisen, collected the funds from the La Verne Police Officers Association.
Soon afterward, they extended the same generosity to another local family found itself in a similar predicament as Lopez’s.
Regan George said burglars targeted his vehicle – which was loaded with gifts – in broad daylight, shortly after he arrived in La Verne.
“The window was smashed. The presents were gone,” he said.
After receiving the unexpected gift cards and cash to replace the gifts, he said, “It really restores your faith in humanity and in the Christmas season.”