Thieves take toys, wiring from church’s annual Christmas Store on far east side

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Caring Place Church is feeling the hurt after a Grinch stole gifts and wiring from the Christmas Store.

The Caring Place Church has welcomed thousands of children from across Indianapolis to shop for their families for more than 20 years at the annual Christmas Store. Sadly, sometime between August 5 and August 13, at least one person broke into the Christmas Store and stole many gifts as well as copper wiring.

“It was a very frustrating moment when we realized what had happened,” Elissa Mikkelson, Christmas Store Director, said. “But, there is hope beyond this. I believe that God sees our needs big and small.”

The stolen wiring knocked out the electricity in the store, forcing the group to find another spot.

“We’ve been in this location for over 13 years and we’ve never had any issues,” Mikkelson said. “So, this was really a shock to us.”

The children earn reward “money” by participating in the church’s weekly programming, or in other groups’ activities throughout the year, to spend at the Christmas Store.

“So that they can go Christmas shopping for their families,” Mikkelson explained. “Most of those kids do it for their families. We have all different departments and they can buy for their moms and their grandmas and their siblings, and their dads. They take their items and they get to bring them home and have Christmas for their families. They get to help provide that.”

The shop is set up year-round at the Washington Square Mall, with beautiful Christmas trees and gifts. This helps eliminate some of the set up around Christmas time. But, the thieves caused damage to murals inside the shop and other damage too.

“We are thankful to Washington Square and they are working with us, trying to help us find a space somewhere else in the mall,” Mikkelson said. “We will still be able to have this event this year for Christmas.”

Mikkelson said the team started purchasing gifts earlier this year in preparation for any shortages due to COVID-19. Now, they have to essentially begin again with some gifts.

“Our hot items are Barbies and Hot Wheels and those are the items that they took,” Mikkelson said. “I’m thankful we caught it before it got any worse than that.”

To learn more about the Caring Place Church’s Christmas Store, visit www.caring.place/christmas.

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