California Community Rallies for Soldier Robbed of Christmas Gifts

ABC News Blogs

A California town has shed the Christmas spirit on a soldier whose Christmas presents were stolen from his home just as he was returning from Afghanistan.

Cpl. Christopher Petrossian, of Lodi, Calif., was preparing to surprise his wife, Cheryl, and their two young daughters at the Sacramento airport last week with a Christmas homecoming when he got the call that the family's house had been broken into.

Gone from the family's home in the Dec. 17 burglary were Christmas presents that Petrossian had purchased online during his nearly two-year deployment in Afghanistan.

"It was about $5,000 worth of items," Lodi Police Sgt. Doug Chinn told "There was a lot of electronic gear and presents that were in boxes still to be wrapped plus their own personal electronics that were inside the house."

One of the first officers to respond to the burglary at the Petrossian's home was Officer Eric Bradley, himself a veteran of the first Gulf War. When Bradley found out that Petrossian was an active-duty soldier who was now not going to be able to give his family the Christmas he'd planned, Bradley stepped into action.

Bradley reached out to his colleagues at the police department who donated money and gift cards to the Petrossians. As word spread, other Lodi residents began to donate as well.

"I think they were able to buy a good, substantial portion of the items they lost," said Chinn. "And we have even more gift cards and electronic items to give to them."

"It's going to be nice to deliver them and see their faces," he said.

Police are asking anyone with information about the burglary to contact the Lodi Police Department at 209-333-6727 or Lodi Crime Stoppers at 209-369-2746.

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