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'Grinch' steals wallet, wrapped Christmas presents from disabled veteran

By Liz Kilmer, Reporter, LKilmer@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 06 2013 04:31:31 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 06 2013 04:55:32 PM CST

A disabled Army veteran is distraught after he said thieves broke into his car and stole his wallet, personal items and packaged Christmas gifts.

WYOMISSING, Pa. -

A disabled Army veteran is distraught after he said thieves broke into his car and stole his wallet, personal items and packaged Christmas gifts.

"It really hurts. They don't know what they're doing to people when they do this," said Gerald Chappell, of Sinking Spring.

Chappell told 69 News the theft happened around 8 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of the LA Fitness on Berkshire Boulevard in Wyomissing, Berks Co.

It wasn't until he got home that he realized presents for his mom and sister were gone, along with a wallet containing cash, a debit card and his veterans identification card.

"So it was really discouraging," said Chappell. "I was real upset about it, but what can I do?"

On Friday, Wyomissing police told 69 News that people need to be cautious of break-ins, especially in crowded parking lots during the holidays.

"Car thefts do tend to spike during the holidays, for a number of reasons." said Sgt. Thomas Endy. "People are out buying up their gifts for the holiday season, and that tends to attract that kind of crime."

Endy said five vehicle break-ins have been reported throughout the borough since Nov. 25.

To avoid being hit, Endy said he encourages people to park in well-lit areas and always keep doors locked. He said personal items and gifts should be hidden from sight, if not removed from the vehicle entirely.

"It's a crime of opportunity," said Endy, adding that anyone who falls victim should immediately report the crime to police.

"They don't know… what they're destroying inside me," said Chappell. "And evidently, they don't care."