ANCHORAGE - Someone stole the Christmas presents Grandma and Grandpa Spencer sent their three granddaughters in Eagle River. The boxes of gifts from Pennsylvania were sitting in front of their house for a short time before someone drove past and picked them up.
The family is wondering what the thief plans to do with a musical tea set and a Tinker Bell outfit.
Grandmother Sharon Spencer said from Pennsylvania she was heartbroken when she heard that someone had stolen her gifts.
"I just wanted to sit down and cry. How do you tell them someone stole your presents?" she said.
When the kids asked their mom, Valerie Spencer, why someone would do something like that she told the girls maybe it was someone who needed Christmas presents more than they did.
"But it's never right to steal, no matter what your circumstances are. That's how we explained it," she said, adding, "We didn't really need those gifts from grandma. It's the thought that counts."
By now, the Spencer children are used to their family's concern for the less fortunate.
On birthdays, they ask people who bring the girls gifts to make it something they can donate to their favorite charity. When Jacey turned 4 the other day, she asked for toilet paper to donate to Bean's Cafe. And she got it.
The girls have helped with food drives, too. And every Christmas, each picks a name from the Salvation Army Angel Tree and buys gifts for those who have less than they do.
Valerie filed a theft report with the U.S. Postal Service Inspection Service. She didn't call the police.
"I almost felt selfish doing that, taking their time for stolen Christmas presents as opposed to real crime. But I don't want it happening to somebody else, you know?" she said. "We keep thinking maybe they'll just turn up. You want to think the best of people."
And the grandparents have sent replacement gifts, but they won't arrive in time for Christmas.
In the mean time, the Spencer family has something else to be grateful for. Brian, who is in the Army, will be home for Christmas after three yearlong deployments.
"That's really the most important, having him home and us all being together," Valerie said.