Wake deputy, community helps child burglary victim
Posted June 8, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — What started as a petty theft turned into a life lesson in community for a Wake County girl.
On May 22, the Bradshaw family came home to find their door pried open. Thieves had bypassed the computer, television and video game system but made off with a collection of costume jewelry from the bedroom of 10-year-old Jana Bradshaw.
"They didn’t take anything worth any monetary value," mother Lisa Bradshaw said, "but it was worth a lot to her." Most of the pieces had been given to Jana by her grandfather.
Deputy Chris Jackson of the Wake County Sheriff's Office was moved by Jana's loss to do more than just investigate the theft.
"It just came upon my heart to do something positive in this young girl’s life because I didn’t want her to remember the negative of this incident," he said.
Jackson shared the Bradshaws' story on Facebook, opening an outpouring of generosity. He very quickly had pledges of hundreds of dollars. Brandi Burdine, of accessory retailer Charming Charlie's, donated gifts and gift cards, and Jana's soccer teammates also pitched in.
With her parents' cooperation, Jackson arrayed all the donations on Jana's bed and videotaped her reaction.
"She was thrilled, thrilled beyond belief, and it just makes you feel good," he said.
Jana burst into tears at the haul.
And then she, too, decided to give back. Among her gifts was a bracelet maker, which she used to make thank yous for each of her soccer teammates.
The gifts have helped with her emotional recovery as well. After the break-in, Jana was afraid the bad guys would come back, Jackson said.
"I’ve actually watched the news, and I’ve seen many people do it, and I never thought it would happen to me," she said.
To help her feel better, Jana's parents got her a new bedspread. And the support of her community has built back her confidence, her mother, Lisa Bradshaw, said.
"It was not necessary for people to replace what she lost, but it taught her a great lesson about giving back ... just proving the point that there are lots of good people out there who do really good things for each other," she added.
"We need to look out for each other," he said. "It doesn’t matter if you’re in a uniform or not, if you’ve got the chance to help somebody I think you need to take that opportunity and do it.
"It warms my heart. It really does. In 17 years this is probably one of the best experiences I have had in law enforcement."