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El Mirage on track to recover from Christmas gift burglary

EL MIRAGE • El Mirage's children can still look forward to presents at their annual Christmas celebration, thanks to an increase in donations after gifts set aside for the children were stolen from storage shed in El Mirage.

A member of the El Mirage Chamber of Commerce stopped by the storage shed Nov. 13 to do inventory and discovered that a burglar had cut the lock on a storage shed and stolen presents set aside for the Chamber’s annual Christmas party.

The burglar mainly stole presents intended for infants and boys, leaving many girls’ presents behind, according to Karen Godinho, Vice President of the El Mirage Chamber of Commerce.

Last year, over 150 children, ages 12 and under, attended the party, and Godinho is expecting over 200 attendees this year because the Chamber is has expanded the age range to 17 years of age.

According to Godinho, the burglary was devastating for those who had worked hard to prepare the gifts for El Mirage’s children. Because the Chamber works to help the community, Godinho said she couldn’t understand why someone would steal from children.

“People are desperate these days,” Godinho said. “If someone is in that dire need, we would do our best to help them if they asked.”

With tough economic times, Godinho says the needs in El Mirage have been increasing, and it has also been more difficult to get donations in recent years. Following news of this burglary, however, there has been an increase in donations, and Godinho now believes the party will be able to take place as planned

“I know how important this program is to the parents. It helps them out.” Godinho says. “The children will still be happy with what they get.”

According to Sheriff’s spokesperson Staci Johnson, no suspects have been identified and the investigation is ongoing.

Those wishing to donate toys or money to help with the Christmas party can call Karen Godinho at (760) 953-2760 for more information.

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