Information from WYSH Radio
As WYSH Radio first reported on Friday, a real-life Grinch struck in Anderson County on Thursday. But thanks to the generosity of the community, this holiday tale had a happy ending.
The co-founder of Toys for Rocky Top, Tennessee Kids—Joe Paris—and his brother were going home after an event on Thursday, where volunteers had wrapped hundreds of toys to be distributed to children in need during their annual Christmas party set for this past Saturday night.
The men had loaded up their respective trucks with the Christmas gifts and were on their way home when Paris’s brother’s truck—which had a bad alternator to begin with—broke down by the side of Briceville Highway. The men decided to lock the truck and come back for it the next day, leaving about 150 gifts in the back of the truck, along with a photo backdrop loaned to them by a Clinton photography studio and a new alternator the men had purchased earlier in the day to replace the one in the green Ford Ranger that ultimately broke down.
When they returned Friday morning, though, they found that someone had broken into the truck and cleaned it out. The $3,000 photo backdrop to be used for Santa pictures on Saturday night was found in a nearby creek, spared serious damage by its protective sleeve—but everything else was gone.
As soon as word of the theft got out, people began dropping off replacement toys, which were wrapped by volunteers Friday night at Main Street Baptist Church in Rocky Top, where Saturday’s annual party was indeed able to go on as planned, spreading joy to children in the community.
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the theft, which occurred by the side of Briceville Highway near Andy’s Ridge Road sometime between 8:30 p.m. Thursday, December 15, and 9 a.m. Friday December 16.
If you have any information or saw any suspicious activity on that area during those hours, call the ACSD at (865) 457-2414.
WYSH Radio in Clinton is an Oak Ridge Today news partner.
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