Holiday Heist: 7 San Jose State Students' Presents Stolen From Under Christmas Tree - NBC Bay Area
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Holiday Heist: 7 San Jose State Students' Presents Stolen From Under Christmas Tree

One of the roommates said she had to pick up extra hours at work to earn money to replace the stolen items.

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    Seven San Jose women say they're scrambling to earn extra money to replace presents, bikes and laptops that were stolen, sometime between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, from the home they share. Marianne Favro reports. (Published Monday, Dec. 28, 2015)

    Seven San Jose State University students say they're scrambling to earn extra money to replace presents, bikes and laptops stolen from the home they share near campus.

    The break-in happened at the home on the 500 block of South 8th Street sometime between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

    One of the roommates, 21-year-old Gabriela Avila, made the discovery on Christmas when she came home to pack up gifts for her family and head home for the holidays. Almost every room in the house she shares with six other women had been ransacked.

    The presents under the tree were ripped open, most of them gone.

    "I felt shocked and violated," Avila said. "It was just scary."

    Avila shares the house with six other women, all San Jose State students working one or two part-time jobs just to pay for tuition and rent. Avila says all the gifts she planned to give her family were stolen.

    "Just the fact I worked hard to see them open presents, that would have meant so much to me," she said.

    Roommate Vanessa Carpenter says she now has to work extra shifts at a restaurant to earn money to replace the stolen items: "My MacBook, my bike I would ride to work, a Polaroid camera, a marching band uniform."

    Art major Alexis Mejia says she lost a sentimental gift.

    "I do a lot of projects online, and I had family photos I didn't have a chance to backup," Mejia said.

    Avila says she suspects the burglar got into the house through a window which she found open. She says she and her roommates got a dog, Ziggy, to stay with them because they no longer feel safe.

    Most of the presents Avila had bought for her family were stolen from under the tree. But the loss of one is especially painful: "It was labeled Nee Nee's College Fund." She had saved $300 in tip money from her waitress job to start a college fund for her 9-year-old sister.

    A GoFundMe account has been setup to help the women recoup their losses. As of Monday afternoon, they had raised more than $8,000 toward their original goal of $6,500.

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