California Town Replaces Stolen Christmas Gifts For Soldier’s Family

12/24/13 12:06PM EST

California Town Replaces Stolen Christmas Gifts For Soldiers Family California Town Replaces Stolen Christmas Gifts For Soldiers Family

KCRA

One soldier had a few big surprises planned for his family this Christmas. Cpl. Christopher Petrossian had saved money for a year and a half to make this holiday special, according to the Lodi News-Sentinel. He spent his savings on gifts for his family, which includes a wife and two young daughters, and had all the gifts shipped to their Lodi, Calif. house ahead of time.

And Christopher, 27, was about to send one more gift on its way: he was packing his bags to make a surprise visit home from Afghanistan.

That’s when his wife Cheryl, 25, called with the news that their house had been robbed. Thieves broke a window to get into the house, ransacked each room and stole whatever the found. More than $5,000 worth of belongings were taken, including the family’s couch, electronics and all their Christmas presents.

It was pretty terrifying,” Cheryl told the Lodi News-Sentinel. “Ever since then I’ve had trouble sleeping. Just thinking about someone going through your things is scary, scary stuff.”

Christopher knew how to comfort her. “I told her not to worry about it. I’ll be home tomorrow. It made her feel better knowing I’d be home soon.”

Still, Christopher was disappointed. “I’m used to shopping at Big Lots, and Kmart and thrift stores,” he said. “And finally, after a year and a half in Afghanistan and saving up all that money, I was finally able to start buying somewhat decent stuff. And then a day before I’m supposed to come home, someone breaks in and steals all that stuff.”

The Neighborhood Rallies

As local police began investigating the burglary, news of the Petrossians’ situation spread. The police station and residents have been donating to help the family replace what was stolen.

I think they were able to buy a good, substantial portion of the items they lost,” Lodi Police Sgt. Doug Chinn told ABCNews. “And we have even more gift cards and electronic items to give to them.”

Christopher and Cheryl’s two daughters, aged 4 and 6, already have the best present they could ask for. “Daddy’s home!” one daughter told a local news channel.