UPDATED, with Mugshots: East Texas Grinches Steal $20,000 of Foster Kids' Christmas Presents
UPDATE, 01/06/2011: Longview police have released names and photos of two suspects in this case: Racheal Bradley and Sarah Adams. They have also recovered some of the loot.
We spend a lot of time here wandering about in the pits of human depravity, but this one is about as depressing as it gets.
Simply put, earlier this week, a thief or several thieves broke into the Longview storage facility where the Gregg County Child Welfare Board was keeping toys earmarked for around 300 foster kids. The rats made off with more than $20,000 worth of cheer and treats that were supposed to be going under the trees of some of the neediest kids in Texas. According to KLTV, they took everything they could carry.
A handicapped kid had asked for a Pillow Pal to make him more comfortable in his wheelchair. The thieves swiped that.
A blind child wanted a burnt orange UT blanket. Even if he couldn't see it, he wanted to rep the Horns. They took that, too.
Other items now likely being hocked to fuel some epic East Texas meth binge:
According to the Longview News-Journal, the scumbags took at least 12 laptop computers, seven 19-inch flat-screen TVs, two 32-inch flat-screen TVs, a printer, four or five PlayStation bundles, several Nintendo DS systems and 20 iPods, all of which had been donated or purchased by donated money.
Shari Pulliam, media specialist with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, tells Hair Balls that a lot of hard work went into gathering all those goodies. Volunteers not only gave money, but collected wish lists from hundreds of children and then went out on crazy Black Friday to buy it all so they could get more bang for their buck. She says many people are in a state of shock that something so awful could happen, but she's thankful that there's still time to recover and make the spirits of these most downtrodden of kids bright on the big day.
"I'm just glad we didn't find out about this the day before Christmas," she says.
Pulliam says she is helping to restock Santa's sleigh, and you can too. If you want to come to the aid of some of the neediest kids in Texas, you can either call her at 903-233-5228 or mail a check made out to the Gregg County Child Welfare Board to P.O. Box 151175, Longview TX, 75615.
Longview police say they have no suspects. Pulliam says that the thieves cut the locks off about 12 storage units, but that theirs was the only one that was so completely ransacked.