By Dan Scanlan
The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville police officer gave a local boy the birthday that had been stolen from him, all because of an auto burglary.
According to the police report, someone broke into the boy's mother's van on Gilmore Street between 5 p.m. March 27 and 2 p.m. the next day and stole children's clothing valued at about $2,000. That included his birthday present.
The mother had purchased the clothing with her tax refund, the report states. She told Officer Derek Pratico, who handled the auto burglary, that she did not have any money to replace the gift and didn't know how she was going to give her son a birthday.
Pratico wrote up the police report and finished his tour of duty, then went to a store the next day and bought a new birthday present, cake and birthday card for the boy. He got a $100 gift card for the child's mother to help her. Then he gave them their presents.
"I did not do this for any recognition," Pratico said in a Sheriff's Office Facebook post. "I just felt it was the right thing to do at that moment."
Police did search the neighborhood for suspects in the auto burglary and did check the minivan for fingerprints, the report states.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2014 The Florida Times-Union