Residents say thieves took dogs, TVs from Durham homes damaged by Christmas Eve fire

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— Two families in Durham went back to their fire-damaged homes on Christmas Day to find that thieves had taken what the fire didn’t ruin.

The McLean family lives in a home on Spring Creek Drive that was destroyed in a fire while they visited family in Greensboro on Christmas Eve. They said they returned home to find that their five pit bulls, who had been in their fenced-in yard, had also been stolen.

Neighbor Alexis Padilla said he returned home Christmas day to find his TVs had been taken off the walls.

“It’s Christmas time. I don’t know why they had to do this,” he said.

Padilla said the thieves broke in the day after his home was damaged by the heat of the fire at his neighbor’s house.

A 70-inch TV was taken off his living room wall and another was removed from a wall in his bedroom, he said. Padilla said the thieves also took his children’s iPhones and dropped a TV antenna on the way out.

“I found this around there, around the garage out there,” he said of the antenna.

Padilla said the rest of the home, which has no power as a result of the fire, was ransacked.

“There’s no power here, there’s no lights, so probably, I don’t know what they have,” he said.

With the house and Christmas tree dark until power is restored, Padilla said it feels like his privacy has been violated.

“I know we can get [the stuff] back, we can buy again, but it’s not fair to do this,” he said.

Despite the theft, Padilla isn’t letting the situation ruin his attitude.

“We’re okay, that’s more important. We’re okay, my family’s okay,” he said.

Durham police have not confirmed the robberies and the fire department is still investigating the cause of the Christmas Eve fire. Authorities said investigators will be at the home Thursday to attempt to determine how the fire started.