Community supports students after Christmas burglary

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Seven students from the Central Valley returned to their home in San Jose to find it had been broken into over the holiday weekend.

Two of the victims are from Fresno, and all of them attend San Jose State University.

The moment she opened the door, Gabriela Avila knew something was wrong. The house she shares with six other students had been ransacked, and most of the wrapped gifts under the tree were gone. She was about to take them to her family in Manteca "We come from a low-income family," Avila said. "And my sister and I work really hard to like try to get our family to a better place, so it was just devastating not having them open the gifts that I worked hard for."

The thieves also stole other valuables. "I lost my laptop, a bike that I just got, a few presents from last Christmas from my boyfriend, like my backpack, and a watch that he got me," Fresno resident Alex Mejia said.

Vanessa Carpenter, on the left in this photo, had her $500 band uniform stolen. She plays cymbals. Their friend Adam Miranda started a GoFundMe page to help the seven young women replace their laptops and other stolen goods. A goal of $6500 has already been surpassed with some contributions coming from San Jose State alumni and staff.

"It's not going to cover everything, but it's definitely a solid start to putting money down," Miranda said. "Maybe not for the same laptop as they had before, but at least, something you can get your work done."

The break-in has shaken their sense of security. So a new roommate has joined them, named Ziggy. Ziggy will be their watchdog. All seven housemates are on their own, working hard to pay their rent and school expenses.

"I work maybe two or three shifts during the week and then I work double shifts on the weekend," Avila said. "I work from one job to the other Friday, Saturday and Sunday."

They're moved by the kindness of others.
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