UPDATE, Dec. 9, 2019: The United Way of West Alabama says an anonymous donor has stepped in and provided funds for the toys stolen from the Salvation Army’s warehouse last week.

The Salvation Army was eager to drop off more truckloads of donated toys to its warehouse on Friday afternoon, but when workers arrived they were met with a heartbreaking scene: four truckloads of donations had been stolen.

The stolen toys were meant to go to less-fortunate children in the Tuscaloosa community as a part of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.

“This is helping the families provide for their children and so for someone to come in here and take toys from our community, our children, it’s just really sad and just breaks our heart,” said Brenda Shafer, the director of the local Salvation Army.

On Tuesday, they noticed some disturbances in the warehouse and decided to take precautions by buying chains and brink locks so they could secure all the doors in the hopes of preventing another break-in. However, thieves found a way around the safety precautions.

The damage done is priceless, according to Shafer.

“We don’t have the exact amount of money that was taken from the purchases because these are the people in the community that have packed the bags for that angel, and so there were toys, clothes, shoes in these bags and so for them to come there’s really not a price to put on that,” Shafer said. “But, they did do damage and it’s very sad that they stole from the Salvation Army’s angel tree program.”

It is unknown how the thieves broke into the warehouse, but regardless, the community’s Christmas spirit remains high.

The Salvation Army wants everyone to be on the lookout for people trying to sell new toys and hope the community will come together and donate items so the Christmas spirit can be given to the children in need.

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