Reporting John Lauritsen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The holidays can be tough enough when dad is stationed overseas. However, for the Ottum family, that was just the beginning.
Last night, the Ottums came home to find a Grinch had stolen their Christmas. All their gifts and more from under the tree were gone.
Last summer, the family moved to a quiet south Minneapolis neighborhood. This was the first Christmas there for Kat and her three kids, but when she walked in the door last night, everything changed.
“All the Christmas presents are gone,” she said, “so, that right there told me there was a Grinch out there for sure.”
Her back door was forced open, her house burglarized and all of the presents missing from under the tree.
“There’s kids who live here,” she said, “and you’ve just taken away their Christmas.”
Aeryn, who turns 8 years old later this week, 6-year-old sister Zoe, and 2-year-old brother Jessie were already missing enough. Their father, Jason Ottum, is stationed in Kuwait until May.
He’s a sergeant with the Red Bulls. Now, the kids’ presents are gone, along with their Wii. The thieves did leave their big TV, possibly because it’s so heavy. They also took a firebox with all of the couple’s documents, and two guns that Jason would have needed when he returned to work as a security officer.
“He’s really mad,” she said. “I mean there’s nothing he can do.”
Their only salvation is the kindness of others.
“My neighbor rigged this up so we can close the door,” she said, while pointing out that the makeshift lock will be replaced later tonight with a new door, donated by the nearby Home Depot. It is part of an online campaign by family and friends to help replace what was lost.
“I’m just so grateful that everybody has come to our aid and said, ‘what can we do, tell us what we can do?’” said Kat.
There is an account set up at Bremer Banks to help replace the kids presents.