This is the story of how Grinches almost stole Christmas. Thieves took hundreds of toys collected for children at The Goff Street Armory in New Haven.
But, like in the famous Dr. Seuss holiday classic, there still was a real life happy ending for hundreds of families after the community stepped up to donate and make up for what was stolen.
About 80 percent of nearly 1,000 toys were stolen that had been collected at a three-day Winter Wonderland event that wrapped up at the armory at 290 Goffe Street this weekend.
Organizers figured that out after catching two people in the act of stealing gifts.
“When I walked in the room they were just pulling stuff out, saying they were taking them for their church," Honda Smith, the organizer, said.
The individuals were forced to drop the gifts in hand, but the organizers were devastated to learn that hundreds were already missing.
“It was very heart wrenching for me. I cried all night," organizer Honda Smith said.
But hundreds of families received Christmas presents anyways they might not have been able to afford otherwise thanks to the community. People donated hundreds of toys, making sure that while some Grinches might have gotten some gifts, they did not steal the day from so many kids and families.
“Exciting to see which one you’re going to get," Kyle Freibott, of, New Haven said.
Wendy Freibott, of New Haven, was overcome with emotions after the acts of generosity.
“I was crying. This is so wonderful," she said.
Organizers reported the theft to police and said they plan on making changes next year to how the toys are stored.
The names of any suspects have not been released.