‘It broke my heart:’ Officer replaced Christmas decorations stolen from sick boy, hospitalized 4 months
CANTON, N.C. — The Grinch who stole Christmas decor sparked a wave of good deeds for a family that’s been through a lot this past year.
The Rathbone family reported two inflatables, featuring Santa, Rudolph and a snowman, were stolen overnight Wednesday, Dec. 11 from their front yard off Star Ridge Road.
Declan Rathbone, 4, explained the gravity of the situation to authorities.
“It kind of broke my heart a little bit because he looked out and said, ‘Somebody took my Santa Claus,’” said Canton Police Officer Ryan Adams.
After hearing those words, Officer Adams bought a replacement for the Santa and Rudolph piece with his own money.
“My faith in humanity was gone for just a minute when all this happened,” said Wesley Rathbone, Declan’s dad.
“I wanted to tell you thank you for everything,” Wesley Rathbone told Adams personally. “The smile on his face means more than what you think it does.”
“I’m glad I could help out put a smile on somebody’s face,” Officer Adams replied.
The fact that a callous crook targeted their holiday display left the family deflated. After all Declan’s been through, his parents wanted this to be the best Christmas ever for their son.
“I was just so upset,” said Wesley Rathbone. “We’ve been having a rough year and everything.”
In 2019, Declan spent 126 days in the hospital. He receives daily treatments to prevent dehydration.
“He’s had six surgeries in five months,” said Wesley Rathbone. “The big one that they did, they found a 10-inch abscess in the stomach and they took out his appendix and part of his colon.”
After the theft, Wesley Rathbone took steps to make sure the culprit knows he didn’t win.
His neighbor made a sign reading, “The Grinch can’t steal our Christmas Spirit.”
“Whoever it is drives by,” said Wesley Rathbone. “They can see it. Just know you didn’t crush our Christmas spirit.”
Over the weekend, a family friend gave them a snowman inflatable to replenish their front yard winter wonderland that already includes Olaf from “Frozen” and a Christmas tree.
When it comes to their collection, the family said the more the merrier.