Christmas Theft Victims Still Waiting for Gifts
The local family that had Christmas presents stolen off of their front porch in December are still waiting for their gifts to be released by investigators.
When Derek Collins, Beth Nelson and her 9-year-old son Landen relocated to the North Shore from Florida last fall, they chose a home in Marblehead because of its great school system and low crime rate.
But when several holiday care packages from loved ones back home went missing off of their front porch in December, they never suspected that their next-door neighbors on Colonial Court would end up being the suspects.
Now, nearly a year later, the family's Christmas presents are still locked away as evidence and Collins says she wonders if she'll get the gifts back in time for the coming holiday season.
"Who knows if we will ever see those packages again," she said.
The UPS packages, which contained more than two dozen Christmas presents, assorted winter clothing items and a $500 check, were reportedly found by local police officers inside the home of their former neighbors, Jason Welch and Christine Dunn - both have since been evicted and are currently facing a charge of larceny over $250.
The care packages, she said, were her fiance's family's attempt at helping them feel closer to home during their first holiday in town.
"I believe Derek's parents added some warm clothing items to the packages in an attempt to help us build our arsenal of New England winter wear," Nelson said in an email. "Unfortunately, Landen will have outgrown the clothing by the time we get it."
In the eight months since the packages were taken, Nelson said she has contacted police about recovering the items numerous times and, though she admitted they have been very apologetic, the District Attorney's office has suggested they continue hold them as evidence.
In the days following the alleged theft, Nelson said many of the family's neighbors came by to say that what happened to them on their first Christmas in town is not the norm in Marblehead.
"Most of our neighbors wanted us to know that (the theft) was not representative of Marblehead and they felt bad about our experience," Nelson said, adding, "It was very uncomfortable having to live next to (the alleged thieves) during the 60-day eviction notice period."
The trial against Welch and Dunn is still ongoing in Lynn District Court - and Nelson said all her family can do is wait and hope they get their long-overdue Christmas presents before the holidays come and go again.