HOLIDAY (FOX 13) - A Pasco County family is dealing with a real-life Grinch who stole four puppies and all their presents under their Christmas tree. The family believes the thief is someone they were trying to help.
Brianna Rodriguez, who is seven months pregnant, said a family friend had fallen on hard times and asked her and her fiance' to help him.
"We- especially it being the Christmas season- gave him a home, a place to stay," Rodriguez told FOX 13.
She said the friend had been staying with them for a while when she left her home in Holiday for about 45 minutes Monday.
When Rodriguez returned, the house guest was gone, along with all the Christmas gifts and four puppies that her family had bred and sold to other families as presents for the holidays. The thief also took the television sets off her kids' walls.
"I can't imagine why anybody would rob kids of their Christmas. He knew well that all those Christmas presents were for the kids. He knew that the puppies were going home on Christmas morning for other children," she said. "Our Christmas was definitely robbed along with a couple other families if we don't get those puppies back safe."
Rodriguez said the puppies, French and English Bulldogs, are worth about $12,000 and the presents cost $2,000. She's most concerned about having the animals returned because they haven't yet received all their vaccinations and shouldn't be outside.
Rodriguez said she's contacted the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, which has launched an investigation.
While she waits to hear from detectives, she has a message to her family's Grinch.
"To not only shatter my kids' dreams after everything we did, but to destroy the Christmas spirit of other families. That's just not fair," she said. "You have no Christmas spirit."