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C shift deputies save a Christmas
LCSO deputies
Liberty County Sheriff’s Office C-Shift deputies, from left, Lt. Gose, Dept. Henning, Dept. Winchell and Dept. Ainsworth, pose with the McMorrises and children, Asher and Ava Lacey, in a photo taken by Sgt. Smith of C-shift.

It was starting to look bleak for a Lake George family who had their Christmas presents stolen early Sunday morning by a family member. Then deputies from the Liberty County Sheriffs Office C-shift investigating the crime pitched in and saved the day. 

Here’s what happened: LCSO Sgt. Brandon Wilson said the department received a call Sunday morning from Autumn McMorris of Lake George in east Liberty County. 

She told them Christmas presents she had purchased for her children were stolen from the family’s van, where they were kept so her children wouldn’t see them. 

McMorris said a family member had taken the van Saturday without her permission to go to work and later returned it minus the Christmas presents.

McMorris said when she looked inside the vehicle the $300 worth of presents were missing and all that was found inside the vehicle was a receipt for a gift card showing the gifts had been returned in exchange for the card. 

Another receipt was found in the vehicle showing items which had been purchased using the gift card.

McMorris called 911 to report the missing gifts. Deputy Nancy Winchell responded to the McMorris home to take down the details for her report, and word spread quickly among the C-shift deputies who knew if nothing was done the children would have a bleak Christmas.

The deputies, according to Wilson, dug into their pockets and came up with about $180 to buy gifts for Asher Lacey, 4 and his sister Ava 2. 

Heading to Walmart in Hinesville after their shift was over the deputies repurchased the toys that had been returned the day before. 

The deputies then went to the Dollar Tree to buy wrapping paper, and when customers and the management of the store learned what the deputies were doing everyone pitched in to help and wrap the gifts.

McMorris received a call from Winchell asking her to meet her in Salters Field located at the intersection of Leroy Coffer Highway and East Oglethorpe. When she arrived at the location there were five patrol cars sitting in the field with the awaiting deputies bearing gift for the children.

McMorris said she was overwhelmed by the gesture.

“We wouldn’t have had as many gifts for the children, but would have made the best of it under the circumstances.”

When asked why the deputies felt the need to replace the toys, Wilson said, “We didn’t want to see the kids do without.”

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