Members of the Fort Myers organization Valerie’s House says they are heartbroken after a thief stole chairs from their front porch.
The chairs were supposed to be where Santa and Mrs. Clause sit for the Valerie’s House event, where the holidays are already a difficult time of year.
“The holidays is the worst time for some of our families. This may be the first holiday season that they’re facing without the loved one that they lost,” said Amy Strom with Valerie’s House.
The non-profit charity helps kids process the grief of losing a loved on, like a parent or a sibling.
But this year, something is making the holidays even harder.
“Saturday morning we had a Christmas party here for the kids and their families,” said Joanne Hayden with Valerie’s House. “So we came in early to prepare and noticed that the rocking chairs were not on the porch. So we have a video camera security system and looked back and saw that they had both been removed from the porch around two a.m.”
The thief walked right by a sign telling him that he was being recorded. Then one by one, he took the rocking chairs sitting on their porch.
Chairs that held sentimental value to the kids at Valerie’s House.
“We have a giant stuffed bear that always sits out on the front porch to help welcome him in. So this week he hasn’t been there because we don’t have the chair and the kids have really noticed that, and it’s made an impact,” Strom said.
But while losing the chairs has been a disappointment, in true holiday spirit, the folks at Valerie’s House say they are not interested in punishment for the thief.
Instead they want to help him.
“We understand that this isn’t an easy time of year,” Hayden said. “And so maybe we can help you find a way to get what you need or what you want without you having to take it from a non profit charity for kids.”
And as for the chairs, they say they are still holding out for a Christmas miracle.
If you recognize the thief, you should call Fort Myers Police.