Tampa police replace children's stolen presents; family pet Honey still missing

TAMPA - Tampa police are looking for whoever broke into a woman's home and stole her children's Christmas presents.

It happened Monday at a home on East Whiteway Drive.

Melody Russell noticed the problem when she returned from work.

Thanks to the generosity of some police and dispatchers, her son and daughter will have a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday afternoon, Marcus and Marissa Garcia opened their Christmas presents, covering their living room floor in wrapping paper.

They're a day early, but Monday night their mother wasn't sure they would even have presents under the tree.

"I saw some lights on in the room and I knew something was wrong immediately," said Russell.

When Russell  returned home from work Monday all the presents she had for her two children were gone and the family dog, Honey, was missing.

She showed us where someone shattered a sliding glass door in a back bedroom to get inside.

"I was angry at first," she said.

Russell called the police, filed a report and began to pray. Late last night, her prayers were answered.

When Russell filed her police report, she also unknowingly made a Christmas wish list.  Tampa police in Division Two went back to the station and began pooling their money together, then went out and bought the kids the toys taken from them hours earlier.

"I was just in awe. Again, I had just gotten done praying and mediating and worshiping and thanking God for this situation because we always learn from everything that we go through," said Russell.

She says she has learned to forgive and is thankful for the generosity of others during this season of giving.

The family is still hopeful their dog will return home.

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