SHREWSBURY, MA (CNN/WBZ) -- A Massachusetts church became the target of a Grinch. Someone stole thousands of dollars worth of Christmas gifts collected for poor children over the past year. The church has been forced to start all over with less than three weeks until Christmas.
Elaine LeBlanc says, "I feel very sad for them that they think they have to scavenge."
Thieves cleared out shelves once full of Christmas presents. Parishioners brought gifts to the Giving Tree at the altar of Saint Anne's Church over the weekend. LeBlanc says, "I don't think it's good to leave the toys on the altar because the church is left open for people to come in."
They were moved to a storage unit for safekeeping, along with presents and gift cards collected by the church all year. By Tuesday, most of them were gone.
The thieves kicked in this door. Shrewsbury PD dusted for footprints and finger prints on the other side of the door. The broken lock on the other side has been reinforced with a five-foot metal pipe.
The church is planning better security for the shed and community members are already bringing in replacement toys. LeBlanc says, "I can't believe somebody would come here and go into a church shed. Where are their hearts?"
Police are asking anyone who donated a gift card to the effort and used a credit card to pay for it to give them a call. The community wants this thief caught. Church parishioner says, "I was just devastated. I still am. I can't believe it happened."