Donors help charity replace gifts stolen by Atlanta ‘grinch’

Southeast

ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — Police in Atlanta are searching for a real-life “grinch” who broke into a warehouse, stealing thousands of dollars in donated gifts for needy children, just before the holidays.

Surveillance video captured the incident, which occurred around 4 a.m. Wednesday at a warehouse operated by the Empty Stocking Fund in southwest Atlanta. The video shows the cold-hearted burglar using a sledgehammer to bust through a cinderblock wall to get inside the warehouse.

“He goes about this for the better part of an hour, hour and a half,” said Manda Hunt, the organization’s executive director. “So you can only imagine … the grown man with the strength of enough to come to a cinderblock wall, how many bags of things he could get out of here.”

With the clock ticking, volunteers were tasked to fill the gaps left by the burglar and save Christmas for the nearly 25,000 kids they serve each year. The nonprofit posted about the misfortune on Facebook — and in the spirit of the season of giving, the donations started pouring in.

“There was somebody who donated $5,000 and then doubled it to $10,000,” Hunt said. By Thursday, she added, the group had gathered just enough presents to distribute to the families.

“For everything that I felt like had been stolen from my heart yesterday, it has been built … what is the grinch thing? You know, it grew three times that day.”

Police in Atlanta say they haven’t made any arrests and the break-in remains under investigation.

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