Fla. officer buys birthday present for toddler after gift stolen - WKRN News 2

Florida officer buys birthday present for toddler after gift stolen

Posted: Updated: May 30, 2014 03:51 PM
Derek Pratico surprised a toddler with a birthday gift after his present was stolen. (Courtesy: Good Morning America) Derek Pratico surprised a toddler with a birthday gift after his present was stolen. (Courtesy: Good Morning America)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A Florida police officer bought a cake and a present for a toddler after his birthday gift was stolen from his mother’s car.

Good Morning America reported that Officer Derek Pratico was called to a home in Jacksonville on March 27.

When he arrived, British Sheppard stated that she accidentally left her car doors unlocked overnight and someone stole everything inside.

The stolen items included $2,000 worth of clothes she bought for her husband, herself and her children and a birthday gift for her son Brandon, who was about to turn three-years-old in a few days.

Shepard said she bought the items the day before with her tax refund. She was distraught and unable to buy another gift for her son.

"She was very emotional. I had to try to get her to calm down just to understand what she was saying at first," Pratico said.

He took down the information for his report and then left the home. But he could not get the family off his mind.

"For some reason that call just stuck with me the rest of the shift and then through the night, and when I woke up the next day I decided I had to do something about it," he said.

Practico returned to the home three days later on Brandon’s birthday with a gift.

He brought a toy police car, a birthday card and a cake. He also bought a $100 Publix gift card to help the toddler's mother get back on her feet.

"She was real surprised and gave me a real big hug and thanked me up and down, and had to wake Brandon up. He was sleeping. So I got to give him his present. He was still a little groggy from sleeping," Pratico explained.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office posted the story on their Facebook page. It received more than 115,000 likes.

Practico has since been promoted to detective.

*Good Morning America contributed to this story.

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