Will County Sheriff's deputies responded to a Mills Road residence in Joliet Township around 10:20pm on Christmas Eve. Upon arrival deputies spoke with the residents who stated that while they were away from the home visiting family, person/s unknown kicked open the back door and burglarized the home. The residents, a 7 year old girl and her parents, were devastated and informed deputies that the offenders had unwrapped all of the presents under the Christmas tree and stole them, which included clothing for their daughter. Also stolen in the burglary was an Xbox gaming system, a 32"TV, a laptop and several pieces of gold jewelry that were already in the home.
While deputies were processing the scene, Deputy Michael Kane spoke with the 7 year old who was very distraught by the theft of the Christmas gifts. Deputy Kane, along with Deputy Brett Farmer and Deputy Mark Tapella, then decided that they had to do something for this little girl. They contacted other on-duty deputies to inform them of what had happened to this family and their Christmas gifts. The word quickly spread and a collection was started with two deputies assigned to 'special detail' to organize the affair. On-duty deputies stepped up for the cause to cover calls for service within the county. Less than two hours later $600 was collected from 16 deputies and they were ready to save this families Christmas.
Being after 11pm and Christmas Eve, no local merchandise stores were open so a decision was made to go to Walgreens on Rt. 30 in New Lenox. Deputies arrived at the store and purchased toys, merchandise, and gift cards for the family. During their shopping trip they spoke with a Walgreens employee who provided 'employee discounts' for the entire purchase. Deputies also encountered three random citizens shopping in the store who asked about the police presence. When they heard the story each gladly chipped in $20.
When all the gifts were bought, deputies headed to the Sheriff's Office where the gifts were quickly wrapped. Around 1am deputies returned to the Mills Road home and delivered the gifts to a smiling and thankful family. When asked about the events of the evening, Deputy Kane stated, "I think seeing the little girl's reaction reminded us of why we chose this career...to help people."