A Soldier Returns Home After Burglars Stole Christmas

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis family is thankful for the outpouring of generosity after the children’s presents were stolen from right under the tree. Since the incident, it’s been one surprise after another for the Ottums.

Tuesday, the Ottums found their back door knocked in and their presents stolen. And there wasn’t much the father, Jason Ottum, could do after the burglary since he is stationed in Kuwait.

When people heard what happened, donations came pouring in. The family couldn’t believe it. But there was one surprise no one had expected.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve, the Ottums were at the airport expecting family. The three kids were told they were there to greet their cousins.

“Jesse, look!” said Kat Ottum pointing toward one of the escalators that leads to baggage claim at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Kat’s two year-old Jesse yelled, “Daddy! Daddy!”

Jason Ottum wasn’t scheduled to return home from a tour of duty in Kuwait until March. But he was cleared to return after news of the break-in spread among his colleagues.

His 6-year-old daughter Zoe jumped up and down with excitement when she saw him.

“Give me a hug,” Jason said before kissing Zoe on the forehead.

Jason said it’s great to see his family.

“It’s always great to see these guys, to see their faces light up,” he said.

Kat was in on the surprise. She’s been taking care of the kids and doing her best to organize the outpouring of donations that followed the break-in. And when she saw her husband Saturday, she appeared relieved.

“None of this was expected,” she said. “To have him come home on top of this was the best Christmas present ever.”

When he returned to his home in south Minneapolis, Jason saw the incredible generosity that poured in while he was in Kuwait. Donated presents spilled out from under the tree and took over the Ottum’s living room. Garbage bags filled with toys stood piled in a corner, dropped off by Jason’s co-workers at the security company.

“Wow, that’s a lot of stuff,” Jason said.

Many of the donations were made by the Minnesota Military Family Foundation and Kat’s co-workers. There are so many presents the Ottums plan to donate some of them to needy families.

The Home Depot even donated a new back door to the family.

“It’s solid all the way,” Jason said. “It’s got a new dead bolt on it, too.”

It may have been a holiday that began with misfortune, but it gave one soldier a chance to experience the best part of Christmas.

“I wasn’t expecting to be here on Christmas day and watch them open presents,” Jason said.

Minneapolis police haven’t found the person(s) who broke into the home and stole the presents, along with important personal documents, guns, and other valuable items.

  • LindaP

    They said “Something good comes from something bad”. Merry Christmas. I’m glad to read a story with happiness. I hope they recover their other items too.
    God Bless Our Troops.

  • Nancy Aleshire

    These kids got something money could not buy–THEIR DADDY. I am so glad for you, Kat!!!! What the devil had intended for bad, the Lord will turn around and use for good. I hope those low-down scoundrels who broke into your house will be caught and will reap what they sow–in jail where they belong.

    • jackactionhero

      Oh come on.

      Give your well wishes and extend your happiness, but leave the devil and lord BS in your head where it belongs.

  • Ralph

    The most important thing in the world to bad people is to win, and they often do, but only in the short run. In the long run, they always lose.

  • herman

    And if my house were broken into.. would there be a story about me because I work at Walmart?

    • don Roberto

      Until you revealed yourself to be a jerk, maybe. Now, no.

  • pizzed

    So what’s your hardship, herman, or are you always this whiny?

  • Quattro

    Herman, were you in Kuwait serving our country? Are you so pathetic that you have to have a story about you? Grow up.

    • herman

      Oh Quattro Sinco

      Like anyone else, they enlisted in the armed services and knowing there was a chance they would be deployed. Give me a break. There are many many people that give everyday and have their home broken into and there aren’t news stories about it.

  • http://thelocalfile.com/2011/12/27/after-burglary-outpouring-of-kindness-for-south-minneapolis-family/ After burglary, outpouring of kindness for South Minneapolis family « The LocalFile

    […] overseas in Kuwait. But within a few days, the family’s fortunes turned around, according to WCCO. When neighbors, friends, and even strangers, heard about the burglary, donations came pouring in. […]

  • http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2012/06/01/hang-out-with-the-twins-support-military-families/ Hang Out With The Twins, Support Military Families « CBS Minnesota

    […] Volunteers with the foundation also fixed the Ottum’s broken door and replaced the presents. The group went one step further, bringing Jason Ottum home from overseas, as he took a two-week leave over the holidays, surprising his kids. […]

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