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Police and fire

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Apartment burglary ruins Christmas

Mercedes Flores and her family came home to a ransacked apartment Sunday night.

The kitchen window was broken, and the gifts under their Christmas tree were gone, and so were some pricey electronics, a Fort Wayne police report said.

Flores, 21, said her three daughters, ages 1, 3 and 5, haven’t grasped the loss.

“My kids just don’t have a Christmas and just don’t understand they’re not going to have anything,” she said during a phone interview on Christmas Eve.

Flores said the break-in happened sometime between 1 p.m., when she, her daughters and her fiancee left their home at Richfield Apartments, near Reed Road and Lake Avenue, and 9:30 p.m., when they returned.

“They took everything,” Flores said. “They had a long time to do it.”

Flores’ mother, Shannon Wauchek, said whoever broke in took the time to go through cabinets and unwrap the family’s presents.

Officer Raquel Foster, a police spokeswoman, said burglars often open wrapped gifts this time of year looking for valuable items that can be pawned or sold.

“They’re not looking for sweaters,” she said of these sorts of thieves.

Foster recommends that people not leave gifts under their tree days before Christmas. “Especially those really expensive items; it’s probably best to keep those hidden,” she said.

Wauchek said the burglar or burglars who struck her daughter’s home even stole baby clothes and diapers. “They took so much,” she said.

According to the police report, an officer managed to lift three fingerprints from objects in the home, and those prints were entered into evidence.

Flores said her family did not have renter’s insurance. But her fiance believed he had serial numbers for the stolen items in case they’re recovered, the police report said.

On Monday, Wauchek, Flores and their family were spending time together, attempting to keep their holiday spirits up.

“We’re trying to get through it,” Flores said. “It’s not easy.”