December 23, 2013 05:00 PM

A California community has taken a holiday heartbreak and turned it into a touching Christmas story.

Residents of Lodi, Calif., joined together to replace Christmas gifts and other items stolen from the home of an active-duty soldier just before he returned from Afghanistan.

Cpl. Christopher Petrossian was getting ready to surprise his wife, Cheryl, and their two daughters at the Sacramento airport last week when he received a call informing him that their home had been robbed. About $5,000 worth of items, including their gifts and electronic equipment, were taken, ABC News reports.

Officer Eric Bradley was one of the police officers to respond to the break in, and when Bradley discovered that the burglarized home belonged to a soldier and his family, he encouraged his fellow police department employees to donate money and gift cards to the Petrossians.

Bradley, himself a veteran of the first Gulf War, started a movement of giving that stretched beyond the Lodi police department and out into the community.

“I think they were able to buy a good, substantial portion of the items they lost,” Lodi Police Sgt. Doug Chinn told “And we have even more gift cards and electronic items to give to them.”

“It’s going to be nice to deliver them and see their faces,” he said.

You May Like