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Amherst police are looking for thieves who turned Christmas Eve into a nightmare for some families.

Police said Monday that they believe the same person -- or persons -- broke into two Burgandy Terrace homes Friday night and attempted to break into a nearby home on South Parish Drive.

A burglar alarm scared off the thieves from the South Parish Drive home, but the thieves managed to break into the Burgandy Terrace homes.

In one case, thieves reportedly took more $10,000 in cash as well as $20,000 worth of jewelry, including diamond and ruby rings, police said.

In addition, some presents were taken from under the Christmas tree, according to the family.

"We went out for dinner, came back, found the back door (broken into) and everything on the floor," the Burgandy Terrace resident said. "It was a mess. They grabbed whatever Christmas presents they could.

"Christmas was bad this year," he said.

The Burgandy Terrace resident, who asked not to be identified, said his family had a large amount of cash in the house for a planned vacation. The family no longer is sure it will take the trip, he said.

As for Christmas, he said, the family -- including 10- and 13-year-old children -- did the best it could with whatever presents were left.

"And relatives brought over presents," he said.

The break-in occurred between 5:30 and 9 p.m., police said. Another burglary on Burgandy Terrace occurred during that time.

In that instance, thieves also took about $70 in cash and jewelry -- valued at about $1,500 -- from the master bedroom police said. The thieves also broke into that house through a back door.

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