Abbotsford couple has stolen Christmas gifts replaced

Jennifer Nelson and Andrew Macdonald left their home for a few hours on Dec. 20 before returning to find it ransacked.

  • Dec. 31, 2011 5:00 p.m.

Jennifer Nelson (left) was able to use the donations to replace a laptop stolen from her daughter Thandi (right) and other gifts that were taken.

by Tyler Orton, Contributor

Jennifer Nelson and Andrew Macdonald had every reason to believe Christmas would be a disaster for their family. They had left their home for a few hours on Dec. 20 before returning to find it ransacked.

“We were just devastated,” Nelson says.

A thief scavenged the uninsured house for jewelry and high-end electronics, going so far as to unwrap all the presents under the tree in search of items to steal.

The burglar made off with computer tablets, digital cameras and even a laptop Nelson’s eight-year-old daughter Thandi bought with money saved up from last Christmas and her most recent birthday.

Just hours after hearing about the theft, friends Carrie Gambill and Carly Nesbitt took to Facebook and launched a campaign to help Nelson’s family.

“I was shocked (about the theft), and she (Nelson) lives less than a block away from me. It (the theft) made me paranoid,” Gambill said. “This kind of thing, you always hear about it this time of year, but it’s usually not somebody you know.”

Donation boxes were set up at Legal Grounds Coffeehouse and Baby Blossom Boutique, while online PayPal contributions were coming in from as far as Kentucky. Offerings ranged from $5 to $250.

Local bands Childsplay, Overtime, Limosis and Guts and Glory even raised money by playing a charity concert on Dec. 23.

Nelson, who helps at-risk youth at Abbotsford Community Services, also received numerous phone calls and emails from people asking what they could get Thandi and her four-year-old stepsister.

“They had more than they would have ever gotten,” she says, noting the abundance of clothes, toys and colouring books the girls received in the days following the theft. “They were spoiled.”

Although Nelson is still fearful of being targeted again, she confirmed the donations allowed her to replace Thandi’s stolen computer as well as the digital camera that was taken from under the Christmas tree.

“I just really want to thank everybody for being so amazing,” Nelson says. “This has been a totally different experience than it could have been.”

Despite the massive outpouring of support – Gambill alone collected $600 – the theft is still affecting the family. Nelson gets nervous about leaving the home unattended, while Thandi is having difficulty sleeping.

Although Nelson wishes the robbery never happened, the event reaffirmed the Christmas spirit.

“This year has just been so amazing, because it feels like Santa is real.”

Just Posted

Threats to the Fraser River at a ‘new zenith,’ says river conservationist

The ‘Heart of the Fraser’ should be deemed ecologically significant according to ORC statement

Fraser Valley Regional District administration/government costs set to rise by 18%

Mosquito control and fire dispatch costs also set for increase

Fraser Valley Bandits name new head coach, general manager

Thunder Bay native Kyle Julius becomes second head coach in team history

Abbotsford owner’s dog to be featured on Jones Soda bottle

Yogi, 10, set to appear on the company’s beverages in the near future

Half of shoppers say they have no holiday spending budget

B.C. consumers surveyed estimate they will spend $921 this season

VIDEO: Rockslide closes Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Final appeal rejected for man convicted in deaths of missing Alberta seniors

Lyle and Marie McCann were in their 70s when they left their home in St. Albert in 2010 and vanished

Thieving gun-toting Santa breaks into Princeton restaurant, makes icing sugar sandwich

The suspect allegedly made a sandwich of icing sugar and ham

Infants should be tested for autism if older siblings are diagnosed, Canadian study suggests

Blood test for infants with sibling who’s been diagnosed would get information to families earlier

New centre opens in Fraser Valley to help people on the autism spectrum

The Pacific Autism Family Network opened its Fraser Valley location in downtown Chilliwack

Province gives $4.93M boost to school-based gang prevention program

The funding will see the ‘Erase’ program expand from 12 to 16 communities

VIDEO: Giants fall 3-1 to Victoria in mid-week Island game

The major junior hockey team is back at home in Langley for a toy drive and Santa singalong Friday

Man killed in crash due to ‘absolutely treacherous’ conditions on Coquihalla

Winter means icy roads are dangerous and drivers should be careful, RCMP say

Bag of cocaine left in B.C. grocery store aisle

RCMP: ‘We sure would like to talk to’ person who left drugs behind

Most Read