ORLANDO, Fla. - A woman who had just finished her holiday shopping for her children says all the gifts were stolen out of her car overnight in Orange County.
With the holiday shopping season in full force, Michelle Crespo did what any good mom would do. She spent Sunday buying gifts for her five-year-old daughter and ten-year-old son.
"I took this day off of work so I can wrap all the gifts I had purchased last night," said Crespo.
Instead of wrapping gifts, she is at a loss trying to figure out where she will find the money to buy her children's presents again.
"Right here there’s a little gap you can see now. All my doors were open. Just like that. Left open," said Crespo.
Her car was parked outside her apartment and the doors were locked, she explained. She left the gifts in her, car because she didn't want her kids to see them. Included were Barbie dolls, Airpods, a tablet, and a "Frozen" vanity.
On Monday morning, she woke up to text alerts from her credit card company and knew something was wrong.
"And all of it was gone, just overnight."
This is exactly the type of incident the Orange County Sheriff's Office has been warning people about.
"We need your eyes and ears out there," said Sheriff John Mina at a press conference in November about Operation Safe Holidays.
The Sheriff's Office has been issuing alerts for the past several weeks, reminding people to remove valuables from their cars and lock them up. It’s a lesson Michelle Crespo had to learn the hard way because even she had locked her car.
"Loss of words, not knowing what to do, not knowing what gifts I’m going to give my kids," said Crespo.
She wants parents to pay attention to the little things and empty our cars so no one else has to have these conversations with their children this holiday season.
"She’s like, 'Well, Santa’s at least going to bring me my presents. That’s still there,' and I’m like 'Santa’s definitely going to bring it for you. He definitely will, one way or another.'"
Deputies encourage people to park in well-lit areas, remove any valuables, lock the doors and arm your car's security system, especially during the holiday season.