The Meridian community came together to help save Christmas for a member of the U.S. Marine Corps and his family.
Meridian's chief administrative officer, Ken Storms, said there was a swift response from local citizens Tuesday evening after hearing about the Bobby Stone family.
The Stone’s had stopped in Meridian overnight en route to Arkansas for the holidays. Their vehicle, trailer, motorcycle and their clothing, including the young marine's military uniform and Christmas presents, were taken while they slept.
About an hour after the family left town, their Dodge Durango was recovered on Railroad Street and 35th Avenue in Meridian based on a citizen's tip. The trailer was found later when another viewer tip to an off duty police officer helped locate it in the 2300 block of 32nd Avenue, with most of the things in it intact.
To make a happy ending even better, Johnson Dodge in Meridian offered to fix damage done to the Durango and detail it for free.
"It was just a little something we thought we could do for the family," said Carl Backer of Johnson Dodge.
Earlier in the day, Police Department employees took up a collection for the Stone’s, totaling close to $900.
"When we made the presentation, he had a little tear in his eye," said Assistant Chief Keith McCary. "He was more concerned about his military stuff than anything else."
McCary said the investigation into the theft continues, but due to a recent rash of incidents on the Frontage Road, area patrols have been beefed up. People are advised to be extra alert.
In the coming week, Stone and his family are expected to return to Meridian for their possessions with a better outcome expected.