Manchester police officers replace stolen gifts for struggling city family
Page Van Der Putten, 8, holds a doll in the living room of her Somerville Street home Thursday, two days after Manchester police restored her Christmas. (MARK HAYWARD / UNION LEADER)
Unable to catch the crook, Manchester police officers opened their wallets to provide a Christmas for the family’s 8-year-old girl, 15-year-old boy, and their cancer-ridden father.
In the end, the children had their stolen gifts replaced, plus some extras — bicycles for the two children, board games and gift cards for the family of Laurie Charest.
Detectives Joe Mucci and Derek Cataldo realized they had few leads, so they started collecting money at the station. Community Policing Officer Rick Brown got donations from the Salvation Army and the Manchester Police Athletic League, which had just concluded toy distributions to needy families.
And when the officers went shopping, Sears, Target and Market Basket provided deep discounts. Some employees even made personal donations.
Police Department employees called Charest to the station’s community room on Christmas Eve. Two tables were crammed with wrapped gifts.
On Thursday, board games remained under the tree, her 8-year-old’s room was crammed with doll-related toys, and a skateboard was tucked beside the family couch.
Van Der Putten said police need to be recognized for their efforts.
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