Riverside police officers played Santa for a single mom and her two sons who were the victims of a home burglary on Christmas Eve.
The family, who was not identified, was out enjoying Christmas Eve on Saturday, but while they were away, thieves broke into their apartment, ransacked it and stole all the gifts from under their tree.
Riverside Police Department officers responded to the scene and took a burglary report, but didn’t stop there. They went to the police station and collected extra gifts and toys that were donated by fellow officers and dispatchers.
Hours later, around 3:30 a.m. Christmas Day, the responding officers returned to the apartment — this time, with their own equivalent to Santa’s bag.
They apologized for taking so long to return to the home, but explained that they had taken up a collection to make sure they didn’t go giftless on Christmas.
The officers brought several gifts for the kids and some cash for their mother.
Video from an officer’s body-worn camera showed the mother wiping away tears of appreciation as officers explained what they had done. She then hugged each of the officers and her children shook their hands before they went their separate ways.
After word of the charitable act got out, the Riverside Fire Department joined in on the good deed, bringing over more gifts later that morning.
“We couldn’t be more proud of our officers and dispatchers here at the Riverside Police Department, along with our Riverside Fire Department,” officials from the Riverside Police Department said on social media. “And we promise our detectives will do everything they can to identify and find this criminal scrooge who tried to ruin Christmas in Riverside.”