Thieves steal east Indianapolis family's Christmas

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Metro police are investigating a home break-in in which thieves stole Christmas from an east Indianapolis family.

Anita Barnes says faith and family are the heart of the holidays. She decorated her home for her kids and even had their gifts already wrapped under the Christmas tree.

But the tree skirt is empty now, after police say thieves stole the presents and her family's sense of safety Monday morning.

"It definitely hurts to see the tears from their faces, thinking, 'Wow, why would somebody come to our house and do this to us?'," Barnes said. "The thieves literally kicked the whole front door in and came on in."

Police say the criminals stole her son's video games and Playstation 3. They even took what was under the Christmas tree - simple gifts that mom could afford.

"Unfortunately, what little bit that was there, they got a hold of. They literally unwrapped the gifts to see what they could get and what they could use, I guess," she said.

But Barnes says what hurts even more than a stolen Christmas is the feeling her family's been violated.

"Because somebody has been into your home. They invaded your privacy. They know every room in your house, because they've walked it," Barnes said.

To discourage more crooks, Anita took the family's TV away from the front window and moved it to her dad's house. She's even turned off the Christmas lights outside, for fear those could attract crooks seeking gifts.

With money tight, she says Christmas itself is in jeopardy for her kids.

"Financial issues, you have other bills to pay, you have food to put on the table. It's very hurtful financial-wise," Barnes explained.

For now, she's simply thankful no one was home during the break-in and knows they'll make it work somehow for Christmas.

She says in the end, it's still about faith and family.

"I just pray, leave it in the Lord's hands," she said. "This kind of shot it down, but my spirit still stands."

Right now, investigators don't have any suspects in the home break-in, but Barnes says the officer who took the report came back after the initial visit, with crayons and small gifts for her kids. She says their faces lit up because of the officer's generosity.