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Thief steals toys and clothes from South Bend church

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

Police in South Bend are searching for the brazen thief who walked into a South Side church and stole Christmas presents meant for children. 

It happened at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church on Carroll and Broadway.

Members of the community are in disbelief.

They can’t believe someone would go so far as to steal from kids in need.

Pat Sipes is pulling six-day work weeks.

She is something like Santa Clause, spreading Christmas cheer to more than 100 local families in need.

“It’s just one day out of the year that they can remember with glee and pleasure,” Sipes explained.

For 25 years, she along with members of the Broadway Christian Parish, have created a Christmas Jubilee.

“It started out real small. But its grown over the years. This year we’ll serve 114 families,” said Senior Pastor Bette Thompson.

It allows parents and children the opportunity to pick out presents for each other, wrap them up, and take them home.

So they have something to open Christmas morning.

“Some of the shoppers that come in are really so grateful it’s hard for them to keep the tears back,” Sipes said.

But a real-life Grinch is trying to steal Christmas.

He bagged up toys and clothing donated for this special cause.  

“We couldn’t do it without all the donations and we rely on that,” Thompson added.

Police said the theft happened Wednesday night.

A man walked into Gloria Dei Lutheran church.

While parishioners were in bible study, he got his hands on $100 worth of toys from the donation bin.

Those toys were headed across the street to Broadway Parish.

“We have toys designed for the specific age of children and their genders,” said Thompson.

Luckily, they still feel confident they will have enough presents to supply families.

Keeping with the Christmas spirit, the church is thankful for all the donations they do have and says they will not focus on what was stolen.

Broadway Parish will accept donations until Friday, December 18th.

They said they are especially in need of gifts for teenagers.

Broadway Parish is located at 1412 Carroll Street in South Bend, 574-289-0333.

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