(WKTV) - Frances Frazier is a Utica woman raising her five grandchildren because their father is incarcerated and their mother isn't always up to the task. When Frazier, who recently got $500 in toys off layaway for Christmas gifts for the children, went to the basement to collect the items and start wrapping, she made a discovery.
The presents were gone.
"I went down there four times looking for it, and each time I went down, I said 'Maybe I put them in the back,' " Frazier said. "And i kept looking. They just weren't there. And I just knew somebody had taken them."
What bothered Frazier the most is the doll in a wheelchair she'd bought for her 16-year-old special-needs granddaughter, Deschannel, was gone.
"One doll was the doll I had for my granddaughter, because she doesn't walk," Frazier said. "So I got her a doll with a wheelchair so that she could identify with the doll."
Frazier says she's lived in Utica for 36 years and no one has ever taken anything from her. Mostly because they know they don't have to.
"I'm angry, but I think I'm more hurt than I am angry," she said. "Because the fact that if they had come to me and said 'I need,' I would've given it to them.
"Nobody had to steal anything from me."
Family friend Tyra McKinsey couldn't be more hurt and offended.
"I'm talking about a woman who works," she said. "A woman who set aside her finances and purchased items. She didn't go to Operation Sunshine. She didn't go anywhere and ask for assistance. She purchased these items with her own hard-working money.
"Someone came into her home and stole Christmas from her children," McKinsey said. "And I just want people in the community to know that Frances did not deserve that and she works too hard in our community for anyone. People who come up to her step because they're hungry."
The community is starting to rally around Frazier. A Utica Police officer stopped by with gift cards, courtesy of the Thomas Lindsey Foundation.
Frances says there were no signs of the house being broken into. She says with so many grandchildren always coming and going, it's open a lot of the time.
She and her family hope if someone sees the story and they happen to buy the toys illegally on the street, maybe they'll realize they were taken from her.
And bring them back.