RIVERSIDE—After a single mother and her two sons returned home on Christmas Eve, they discovered their Riverside apartment had been burglarized and all their gifts stolen from under their tree.
Some Riverside police officers took matters into their own hands to ensure the family had still had gifts on Christmas day.
In body cam footage released by the Riverside Police Department show around 3:30 a.m. Christmas morning, some officers returned to the family’s apartment with extra retrieved toys from the station and an envelope with $700.
“We told all of our dispatchers and officers about what happened to you. And so we all came up with some money for you. So, this is from a lot of us. It’s $700 cash—hopefully it’ll help out,” one officer can be heard saying in the video as the mother burst into tears and hugged him.
“Thank you,” she said. “You guys are awesome, thank you, you guys have a Merry Christmas.”
“Hopefully that’ll take some of the burden off,” the officer responded.
According to the department’s Facebook page, the City of Riverside Fire Department got wind of what happened and brought over even more gifts a few hours later.
“We couldn’t be more proud of our officers and dispatchers here at the Riverside Police Department, along with our Riverside Fire Department. And we promise our detectives will do everything they can to identify and find this criminal scrooge who tried to ruin Christmas in Riverside,” the department said in a statement.
Last month, Riverside officials placed communities in the county on high alert as they saw an uptick in a string of home robberies carried out by what they call “criminal tourists,” which are foreigners from South America who operate in groups primarily targeting businesses. But this year, the group has expanded their criminal activity to entering homes, with at least 17 home invasions this year in the Inland Empire.
It’s unclear if the same group targeted the family on Christmas Eve and the Riverside Police Department did not immediately respond to a request to comment by press deadline.