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Burglars steal presents from under family's Christmas tree

Police say burglars also stole cars from Westside home

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Burglars targeted a Westside family in the middle of the night, stealing their Christmas presents right from underneath the tree.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the burglars also went to the back of the house on Mell Court, near West Beaver Street, to take a Play Station 3 before stealing both of the couple's cars. 

The woman who lives at the home said she and her boyfriend were at home with their children when it happened last week. 

Police said it appeared that multiple burglars came in through a window in the early-morning hours while the family was sleeping, stole the gifts, then found the couple's car keys and took off in the vehicles. 

One of the cars was recovered, though it was found broken down without a working transmission.

The woman living in the home, who wished to remain anonymous, said the break-in has her wanting to move. 

"It changes the way I do everything. I’m not even comfortable to come out of my own bedroom in the morning, but I know I have to get up at 4:30 and go to work. I'm not comfortable leaving my house at night. I’m not comfortable leaving my older children here alone. I make everybody leave with me," she said.

Gil Smith, News4Jax crime and safety analyst, said one to keep keep burglars away during the holiday season is to wait until Christmas Day to put presents under the tree.

Since many families place Christmas trees near windows, it makes it easier for crooks to see the presents, Smith warned. 

Police continue to search for the burglars. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.