Polk County Sheriff's deputies and detectives assigned to the Southeast District, which is responsible for patrolling and investigating crimes in the unincorporated southeast Winter Haven, Wahneta, Eloise, and Lake Wales areas, and in the cities of Dundee, Eagle Lake and Frostproof, have pooled their hard-earned money together to help provide some Christmas cheer to a Frostproof woman and her two children after a Grinch-like burglar stole all of the presents from under their tree.
Sergeant Shawn Stephenson, his daughter Toni Rae, and Detective Matthew Radabaugh, who is the lead detective working the case, went to Karnella Johnson's home this morning (December 24, 2011) to present her with over $200 in cash, another $200 in store gift cards, over $250 worth of food (including a Christmas ham!), and some wrapped presents (food and presents donated by East and West Community Oriented Police deputies).
The Southeast District's goal was to help Ms. Johnson do some last-minute shopping in attempt to replace some of what was stolen, and to hopefully put smiles on her and her children's faces this holiday season. Ms. Johnson burst into tears at the generosity.
In the attached photo is, from left to right: Toni Rae Stephenson (Sgt. Stephenson's daughter), Karnella Johnson, 1-year-old Jarrod, and Detective Radabaugh.
The previously sent news release/Crime Stoppers bulletin is included below:
Polk County Sheriff's deputies are seeking information about a residential burglary that occurred in Frostproof, during which Christmas presents from under the Christmas tree were stolen.
Sometime between the hours of 12:00 noon and 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 21, 2011, while the victim was away at a family member's home dealing with a death in the family, her residence, located on Hopson Road in Frostproof, was burglarized.
Unknown suspects entered the residence through a window, and took 2 televisions, jewelry, and all of the presents under the Christmas tree, which were intended for two children -- a one year old boy, and a teenaged girl. The presents included baby toys, an iPad, a laptop, and a Nintendo DS.
If anyone has any information about this incident they are urged to contact Detective Matthew Radabaugh at 863.412.2212.
"Sadly, we are working another 'Grinch' case. What kind of a person steals children's Christmas presents? We hope someone out there will come forward with information about this crime - remember, you can remain anonymous AND earn some extra cash. This woman and these children have already suffered through a death in the family, and now are also suffering from the trauma of a burglary in their home. We need your help!" - Sheriff Grady Judd