'Grinch' steals children's Christmas

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Just three weeks from Christmas and a valley family is wiped out. The family says their home was burglarized and all of their Christmas presents stolen.

Albert Harker believes the suspect got through a back gate of his home in the 2100 block of Gemini Drive and cut through a back door screen. On the back porch, muddy footprints lead up to the door and are visible all through the house. "I yelled at all the kids and my wife to get out just in case someone was here," said Harker.

The father of six says he quickly realized the bottom of his Christmas tree was bare and only the dust stains were visible on the glass shelves that once held a host of electronics. His children were devastated.

"It shocked me because I don't know what kind of person would do this around Christmastime, too, it just doesn't make any sense," said his daughter Alaina.

Emotional but determined not to let it happen again, Harker says he spoke with responding officers about how something like this can be prevented in the future. Tempe police say make sure access to the home is secure, break down trash and just be plain smart about protecting your property.

"Don't allow the crooks to window shop at your house, keep the blinds shut, keep the curtains drawn," said Lt. Scott Smith with Tempe Police.

He says detectives were able to grab fingerprints from Harker's TV, which they tried to swip,e as well as from his children's rooms where all of their gaming systems were stolen.

As for the crooks, the hardworking dad had this to say.

"Shame on you, I mean kids Christmas gifts, I work hard for my money work hard for my kids and you know it's a shame."

Harker hopes that his unfortunate story reminds others to be vigilant this holiday season. The family has set up a GoFundMe page called "Burglary That Took Kids Gifts."