A North Miami Beach family can smile again a day after robbers broke into their home and stole their Christmas presents and nearly robbed them of their holiday spirit.
Thanks to the efforts of the North Miami Beach police department, Miami-Dade police and other donors, the family was given about $900 in gift cards, cash, dozens of toys and peace of mind on Christmas Eve.
Pedro Huamanchumo tearfully thanked the police for their work and for helping his daughter, Alondra Tallendo, and their family have some relief after having their home burglarized.
“We thought Christmas was going to be something else for us,” Tallendo said. “But with all the help we’re going to be good today.”
The burglary took place Tuesday morning while the family was gone. Paola Manzanares, the mother of the family and Pedro’s wife, came home at about 11:45 a.m. and saw that the front door was broken into and the family’s presents, two laptops a tablet and some of the family’s documents were stolen. The suspects also tore apart Manzanares’ bedroom and left only one present under the tree.
The officer who took the burglary call, Carlos Parets, was so affected by the family’s situation that he immediately asked his colleagues for support to try to give the family some relief. Miami-Dade police donated two $100 American Express gift cards. A $100 Chili’s gift card and a $100 Walmart card was given by other donors. And North Miami Beach police officers and staff collected about $500 in cash donations.
Sgt. Juan Pinillos, who worked with Parets on the incident, said the situation hit home for him because he’s a father and the family has three young children.
“This family they sacrificed a lot to buy gifts for their children and make that day very special,” Pinillos said. “To be burglarized is devastating alone, but come Christmas time and the holidays it must be Earth-shattering.”
Police Chief Scott Dennis said he was touched by his department’s response and will continue to work on identifying and catching any suspects.
“One burglary is way too many and especially during this time of year,” Dennis said. “We’re going to work very hard to catch the guys, but for now as a band-aid this helps.”
Tallendo said the family was on edge Tuesday night and still shaken Wednesday morning because of the crime, but the gifts and support will help them sleep easier and enjoy the holiday.
“We thought this was going to be the worst Christmas ever,” Tallendo said. “All of this is just amazing.”