Single mother's plea to save Christmas after her children's gift - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Single mother's plea to save Christmas after her children's gifts are stolen

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A single mother of three is trying to figure out how her kids will be able to open gifts on Christmas morning after the presents were stolen. 

It's the holiday season, a time of joy, or at least it's supposed to be. 

"It's something every little kid gets excited for -- Christmas," said Lanae Pete, a mother who did what she could to buy her children a Christmas experience. 

She saved up money for months. As she worked her two jobs, she even asked for more shifts to have extra money to spend on Christmas. 

"I started in October and I was done as of last Friday (Black Friday)," she said as she noted when she went shopping. 

Pete spent more than $700 on her three kids for Christmas and she has the receipts to prove it. From baby clothes, to toddler toys and thing she knew her 11-year-old would love. She bought everything on sale to try to make the money go far. 

"I'm paycheck to paycheck just to support the kids," Pete added. 

To hide the unwrapped gifts, she hid them in a storage closet in the basement of her duplex. 

"All of the presents were stacked up right here," she said as she pointed to where she left them. 

The storage closet is assigned to her by her landlord. She claims she never received a lock for the door. But there is a lock to the basement door that only the three tenants of the building, including Pete, have a key to. 

The only gifts that were left behind by the thief were four movies and a board game. They are the only gifts Pete's children will be getting this Christmas. 

"I'm not even as mad as I am hurt. Like, why? Why do you take from kids, there were no adult things in there. They're kid toys, they're kid clothes. They're the ones suffering, not me," Pete said as she got emotional. 

Madison police are investigating the burglary, but have no leads. Pete said her landlord would be coming to the house within 48 hours to put new locks on the storage door. 

But now, the family fears for their safety and Pete is left wondering how she'll tell her little ones. 

"How do you explain that on Christmas? Like sorry, somebody stole all your toys," Pete said as she cried.

If you would like to help Pete's family, send an email to 27 News reporter Hunter Sáenz at You can also reach out to him on his Facebook page or Twitter account @Hunt_Saenz.

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