By Jennifer McGraw

ROSEVILLE (CBS13) – The Salvation Army’s shed was ransacked and thieves stole hundreds of coats, backpacks and toys all saved up for the Christmas season.

“The stuff is so important because a lot of people in our area, in our community, in our backyard, go without anything and if that’s just a little something we can give back to them, that little bit of joy this season, that’s what we want to do. That’s what we’re here for,” said Lt. Steve Pavlakis with the Salvation Army.

Nobody knows more about the gift of giving than 10-year-old James Barnes.

“The first year that we were here, the Salvation Army gave my mom jackets and a lot of food so she could survive,” he said.

Every Thursday night it’s a trip to the Salvation Army for James and his grandma Debbie. It’s a chance for him to be a part of his troop activities and a way for them to both give back.

“They’re like a second family to me,” said his grandma Debbie Barnes.

But it was a different story when James found out hundreds of jackets and toys were stolen, all gifts collected to make sure those in need have a Merry Christmas.

“I think it’s rude. Why would someone steal jackets from people that need them?” James said.

Pavlakis said the barrels in the shed were full of coats and toys, now they’re gone.

“I’m really not sure why someone would take something knowing it’s for children, I mean it’s small coats and toys,” he said.

Each Christmas they help out more than 400 families, making sure each member has a warm coat and every child has their own toy.

“A jacket means a lot to some of these kids, but to see the joy in their face when they get that toy, it’s unlike anything else,” Pavlakis said.

While nobody can imagine who would do such a thing, James wants to make sure even the thieves don’t go without.

“Even bad people, they need stuff,” he said.

But hopefully with enough help from the community and donations, nobody will go in need this holiday season.

You can donate to the Salvation Army on Lincoln Street off Linda Drive Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday 1p.m. to 3p.m. If you have larger donations of coats and toys, you can call the Salvation Army and a volunteer will pick those up.

The theft is under investigation and the thieves haven’t been caught.


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