Heartwarming update on woman taken for $500

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A heartwarming update to a Valley woman who was taken for $500 in rent money.

Thanks to 3 On Your Side's involvement, Nicole Abreu got her money back and it's pretty interesting how things came together.

You may recall, Nicole was pregnant at the time and was nearly homeless.  She found an ad on Craigslist listing Valley wide rentals for as low as $500.

Nicole said she was interested and gave $500 to the person named in the ad, which was Sydnee Bollwinkel.

However, Nicole said after handing over the money, Sydnee stopped responding.

So Gary Harper went to Sydney's home in Gilbert for some answers.

Sydnee didn't want to talk about the money she took and threatened to call police.

In 3 On Your Side's last report, we learned that Sydnee and her husband, Derek Bollwinkel, were under investigation back in 2008 by Avondale Police.

In fact, an Avondale police report indicated,  "the suspects rent out a house, which they have no right to rent..."

Although Sydnee was never charged, her husband Derek was convicted and is currently on probation.

“I thought that maybe a lesson would be learned after he did some jail time and was put on probation but that doesn't appear to be,” said Derek's sister, Tonja.

After seeing 3 On Your Side's first report, Tonja decided to speak out against her brother and his wife Sydnee.

"It really mortified me," said Tonja. "It made us all sick, it's so sad for them."

Tonja said that she and her family feel awful for what happened Nicole.

“My kids said that they would give up some of their Christmas gifts to donate the money back,” said Tonja.

It's an incredible act of kindness. Tonja and her kids actually gave up their Christmas presents, including an X-Box and new bike, just so they could have $500 to give to Nicole.

Remember, this family has nothing to do with Nicole, but knowing that their relatives took $500 and left Nicole hanging makes them feel horrible.

Tonja said she's simply trying to restore her family's name.

“I want Nicole to know that the Bollwinkel's are good people, that one family doesn't put a face to all of us, that we were mortified,” said Tonja.

As for Nicole, she and her family remain in disbelief and are grateful they have their money back.

“This is really lucky cause we don't really have much to eat or anything, so thank you Tonja!” said Nicole’s daughter.

Nicole also said she’s incredibly grateful.

“I just want to tell her thank you, you didn't have to, your kids didn't have to and you did! More people like you should exist!”