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Christmas gifts for children of refugees stolen from East Side church

Two boxes of donated toys slated to be Christmas presents for children of refugees were stolen from a church on Buffalo's East Side Thursday morning, according to a Buffalo police report.

A burglar entered St. Lawrence Church on East Delavan Avenue sometime around 7:30 a.m. The church's doors had just been unlocked in advance of 8:10 a.m. prayers and 8:30 a.m. Mass, said Patricia Dyer, faith formation director for the Catholic parish.

What the burglar stole represented more than half of what had been donated by parishioners so far this holiday season. The toys are collected as part of programs that aim to help those in need, Dyer said.

"There's help available for people who need it. All they have to do is apply," Dyer said. "They don't have to jump through a lot of hoops or anything. They just have to show us they are in need."

The suspect was described as a 5-foot-8 black male with brown eyes and grayish hair. He was wearing a brown jacket, according to the police report.

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