Police arrest woman accused of stealing Christmas presents - KPTV - FOX 12

Grandma gets gifts back after police track down suspect

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It's no coincidence that a Milwaukie grandmother who loves Christmas is also named Merrily.

"Yeah, because it's my birthday. The day after Christmas," Merrily Fugate said.

Although her home is packed with ornaments and Santa dolls every December, she says buying presents for children and grandchildren can be tough.

"I spent about $120 and they were frugal gifts," Fugate said. "They were things I knew would be important to somebody."

Those were the gifts in her car Sunday when she ducked into a Michael's craft store in Oregon City for some finishing touches.

"I come out and get in the car and everything is gone," Fugate said.

Fugate's car was empty. As she called Oregon City Police Department, Fugate sat on the curb and started to cry.

"I was kind of devastated," Fugate said. "You work really hard to save enough money for Christmas and then somebody comes in and does that."

It was a scene so sad, a passerby stopped to ask what was wrong.

Police say the gifts were taken by Alicia Livermore Petersen - they tracked her down in the same parking lot where Fugate sat crying.

But Fugate didn't know that, and neither did her guardian angel when she walked over and handed her $100 and then vanished.

"I still can't believe it," Fugate said.

Since Fugate got her stolen gifts back, she's trying to decide what to do with the money.

She's thought about food banks, elementary schools and family members in need.

She's also thought a lot about the woman she calls her angel.

"This woman, to do that… I just thank her for that."

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