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NJ Church Parishioners Replace Stolen Gifts Meant For Families In Need

RAMSEY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) --A Grinch who took thousands of dollars worth of toys from a church, will not ruin Christmas for needy families in New Jersey.

On Monday, CBS 2's Jay Dow spoke with Addie Caputi, the church's gift drive coordinator, who expressed shock about the situation.

"It just made me want to cry right that minute, I was so taken aback," she said.

Last week, somebody decided to steal $3,000 worth of donated Christmas gifts that were intended for struggling families across the Garden State.

The gifts were stolen from an unlocked office inside the church. It was unlocked, because parishioners have been conducting the gift drive for 30 years.

Parishioner Walter Zuck expressed disbelief.

"Around the holidays, that's the last thing, you can imagine is for somebody to basically break into a church and steal gifts for needy people. So it was pretty alarming to say the least," he said.

The church takes names, addresses, and gift requests from needy families and anonymously posts them, as angel ornaments, on a Christmas tree.

St. Paul's parishioners were saddened but not discouraged by Tuesday's theft. It took less than four days for them to raise enough money to replace every gift that was stolen.

Father Richard Kelly offered forgiveness to whoever perpetrated this act.

"We're called to be people of peace and forgiveness. So we forgive those who have done this, and we look to the future for reconciliation," he said.

And coordinator Addie Caputi says that she is moving forward with a replenished inventory and a long list of families who will hopefully enjoy this Christmas.

Ramsey Police are investigating the theft; so far there have been no arrests.

What would drive someone to steal from a church at Christmas? Share your thoughts in our comments section below...

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