Donated toys stolen from Connecticut church

Toys were meant for 36 children who made out wish lists

WATERTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Police in Watertown, Connecticut are searching for the holiday Grinch, or Grinches, that snuck into the First Congregational Church on DeForest Street and got away with toys meant for children in need.

“It’s sad because these children don’t have anything to start with, so you’re taking from someone who doesn’t have anything,” said Tricia Meany, a community member who stopped by the church Tuesday afternoon to donate.

“Particularly sad for the children who really need these gifts in order to bring a little joy and happiness into their lives. And, to think that they are gone is very sad,” said Beverly Nichols, Senior Deacon at the church.

Nichols said when staff arrived at the church on Tuesday morning, they discovered all of the gifts collected so far for their annual holiday toy drive had been stolen.

“During our Christmas Fair in November, we have a bulletin board full of angels, and they list the age of the child and the types of things that child would like,” said Nichols.

This year there were 80 angels on the board. Community members commit to sponsor a child and buy the items on their list. All of the children are affiliated with the Wellmore Behavioral Health Center in Waterbury.

“This morning, it was shock and I felt so sick. It was horrible. I think it’s the most despicable thing I’ve ever heard of,” said the Mission’s Chairwoman Cecilia Davidson.

Police say there was no sign of forced entry into the church. The thief made off with donations designated for 36 of the angels. While there are no leads as to who is responsible, the community is coming together to prove the spirit of Christmas wins out.

“We have some, hopefully enough to buy, to replace the gifts,” said Davidson. “They’ll get their gifts. One way or another they’ll get their gifts.”

By Tuesday night, the Watertown Police Benevolent Association stepped up with a monetary donation, as did a local restaurateur.

Anyone with information on the burglary is asked to call the Watertown Police Department at 860-945-5200 or Crimestoppers at 860-945-9940. Calls may be kept confidential.