Barberton patrolmen replace two-year-old’s favorite holiday decoration after theft

BARBERTON, Ohio -- What started as a sad tale about the theft of a little girl's favorite Christmas display, has become a heart-warming story that confirms just how warm and giving northeast Ohioans are.

After two-year-old Autumn Boothe was diagnosed with leukemia at just five-months-old, her parents said her favorite Disney characters gave her comfort during a difficult journey, that included countless trips to the hospital, and eventually a bone marrow transplant.

And, when it came time to pick a Christmas projector to light up the Boothe family's Barberton home during the holidays, it came as no surprise that Autumn and her big brother picked a projector that featured Disney characters.

However, Autumn's joy turned to sadness when her parents discovered that someone stole the projector from their yard.

"It's for the kids, it was Mickey Mouse and Pluto, like you know what it's there for, not only there, but why would you steal a Christmas decoration?" said Cody Boothe.

Barberton Police Patrolmen Nate Samples and Bob Velo responded to the call about the theft and realized the importance of the projector to Autumn and her family.

"I really hope that the person that took it must have really needed it, been down on their luck," Samples said.

"We were looking at that call screen, thinking 'what a move', you know, who would do something like that at Christmas time?" added Velo.

But the two patrolmen didn't just take the report, they decided they were going to replace that Disney projector that means so much to Autumn.

They found the last projector on the store's shelf and set it up in the yard of the Boothe home.

"This is one of those calls that melts our hearts, we`re both dads," explained Samples.

"You know you always hear it's better to give than receive and by all means, we felt that was the right move," said Velo.

The patrolmen managed to bring a smile to a little girl's face and renew her parents belief in goodness and common decency.

Brittany Boothe responded to their act of kindness saying, "For them to take time out of their day, out of their job to do something to bring that back to my kids and just show them that there are good people out there is really amazing."

"You know there`s so many parts of my job that I don`t like doing, to be able to do something that puts a smile on somebody else`s face makes it worth it," added Samples.

Additionally, Barberton police would like everyone to know that surveillance cameras are now pointed at Autumn's favorite holiday decoration and that you never know when they will be on patrol in her neighborhood.