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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

After Thief Steals $1,600 In Gifts From Irving Park School, Neighbors Step Up

The gifts were stolen from St. Viator Elementary School. "For whatever reason, somebody decided to wipe us out," the school's principal said.

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IRVING PARK — A thief ripped off $1,600 in presents from an Irving Park elementary school, but the school’s neighbors stepped up to save the day.

It happened at St. Viator Elementary School at 4140 W. Addison St., which had a locked room full of donated gifts for the school’s Santa’s Workshop event.

Students buy presents at the event to give to their parents and other family members. Older students and volunteers wrap the presents and help the younger students.

But someone stole all of the presents before the buying could happen.

“For whatever reason, somebody decided to wipe us out,” said Lisa Rieger, the school’s principal.

A witness told police investigating the theft that the gifts were locked in a room behind closed doors, according to police spokesperson Maggie Huynh. 

When the school notified parents and word spread in the neighborhood, new donations began to pour in. They came in just in time for the Santa’s Workshop event to still be held.

Principal Lisa Rieger

“It’s been really lovely and heartwarming to see so many people rally around us,” Rieger said. “Any excess that we have will go to the Old Irving Food Pantry. So if people still want to donate … we’ll be giving them the excess gifts.”

Anyone wanting to donate should contact the school at 773-545-2173.

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