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Thief takes off with cancer patients’ holiday gifts

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Updated: 12/10/2013 10:54 am
BENICIA, Calif. -- Benicia police are looking for the thief who broke into several vehicles Monday morning, taking off with a load of gifts intended for the families of two cancer patients from one of those cars.

Marci Moriarty, a nurse in the oncology unit at the Children’s Hospital in Oakland says the thief smashed a window in her Honda Pilot, parked in her driveway, and stole the gifts from the back of her car.

Moriarty had put together clothes, toys and gift cards to give to the families of two young cancer patients at her work.

"I was devastated, I just started bawling. I started thinking about the families in need," she said.

Police say two developments will hopefully help them track down the suspect.

The suspect broke into another car in Moriarty’s neighborhood that same day, which was caught on surveillance.

Beth Piemonte tells KTVU she and her husband had installed a surveillance camera after her husband’s car was broken into two separate times.

On Monday the thief broke into Piemonte’s Mini Cooper, also parked in her driveway.

"When it happens to you more than once, you get a little smarter each time," she said.  "It makes me feel better that I know what this guy looks like. If I ever see him trolling the neighborhood, I’m calling the cops."

In addition to the surveillance police say the gift cards stolen from Moriarty’s Honda were used at a Target store in Vallejo hours after the burglaries.

Police hope those leads will help them catch the person responsible.

"We'll be following up with Target security to get the video from that incident," said Benicia Police Lt. Frank Hartig.

As for Moriarty , she says she's already received donations to help replace the gifts that were stolen.

"It's been overwhelming that in such a negative event that I got to see the best in humanity. So my anger is pretty much gone, just sad that there are people who have to act like that,” she tells KTVU.

Investigators hope to get surveillance from Target Tuesday and will see if the person using the gift cards matches the person seen breaking into Piemonte’s car.

Video: KTVU San Francisco
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