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Cops replace sick girl's Christmas lights stolen by 'Grinch'

Arizona police officers step in and buy new Christmas lights for a terminally ill girl and her family after a thief steals their decorations. KPNX's Chris Williams reports.

When thieves snatched the holiday lights off of a terminally-ill child's home, Phoenix police officers made sure that no "Grinch" would steal Christmas from the 5-year-old girl.

The girl's mother, Jessica Smith, decked out the family's Arizona house complete with lighted reindeer, trees and a Santa with sleigh, but Phoenix police say the decorations were stolen a few days later on Nov. 21. Smith told Phoenix NBC-affiliate KPNX that she decorated a couple weeks before Thanksgiving to guarantee that her daughter could celebrate the Christmas season and "have fun with it."

Linzy, 5, has a rare form of dwarfism and has to spend this year's holiday in the hospital for a potentially life-saving bone marrow transplant, KPNX reported.

"Granted nobody really knows who they're stealing from, but it makes it even worse when it comes to light they stole from a terminally-ill child," Smith told KPNX.


Courtesy Phoenix Police Department

Officer Lewis, left, and Officer Head, right, stand with the Smith family and a representative from Angels on Patrol, far right.

After hearing about the theft, Officers Jake Lewis and David Head from the department's Maryvale Precinct restored the holiday cheer. It started with Lewis contacting Angels on Patrol, which works with Phoenix and Tempe, Ariz. police officers to help families in crisis.

"You don’t know who's behind that door. You don’t know who's Christmas this is that you're destroying," said the organization's executive assistant Leah Heathcoat on the theft. "It (Christmas) should be magical, it should be special."

Related: The Grinch almost stole Christmas in Papakolea, Hawaii

Together, Angels on Patrol and the police officers helped the family redecorate the house again.

Lewis, who is a father himself with a child on the way, even dipped into his own pocket to help the Smiths with groceries, according to Phoenix Police Department Spokesperson James Holmes.

"I asked [Lewis] about the 'donation' and he told me, 'yeah, when we were in the academy and they asked me why I wanted be a police officer I jumped on the 'fast cars and sirens' bandwagon; but, when I said I wanted to help people, I meant it,'" Holmes told NBC News in a statement.

If Linzy survives her upcoming bone marrow transplant, Smith told KPNX that doctors will attempt a kidney transplant.

"Every day is just a blessing," Smith told the TV station.

A benefit fund has been set up for Linzy: Wells Fargo #1064675190.

Slideshow: Holiday season lights up

Chris Williams of Phoenix NBC-affiliate KPNX contributed to this story.

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