When Amy Jo Plummer wrapped the presents and put them under the tree this year, she never expected they'd be ripped open a week before Christmas by ransacking thieves.
"It seems so brazen," Plummer tells Daily RFT. "The time they took to do what they were doing is really what floored me. They opened presents and they literally left what they didn't want."
The robbers must be Cubs fans because one of the gifts they left behind was a new St. Louis Cardinals fleece jacket for her husband. When she came home Monday, she found the fleece, gift wrap and box -- along with the contents of all her closets and drawers -- strewn about the house.
"I was like, who doesn't want a Cardinals fleece?" says Plummer, 32. "It was laying out in the middle of everything. I was like, 'Here, Merry Christmas, babe.'"
The ba-hum-bug looters were more interested in her engagement ring, her husband's work laptop, antique coins, rain boots, an iPhone 5 case, TVs and other jewelry. They left the fleece, kitchen gear, an older television set and a desktop computer.
Plummer seems nonchalant about many of the stolen items -- "I hope somebody really enjoys my stuff," she says, only slightly sarcastically -- but losing her engagement ring to bandits is particularly heartbreaking. This is only the Plummers second Christmas as a married couple, and Plummer sometimes wears just her silver wedding band and leaves the jewel at home, ironically, to protect it.
"That was the ring he proposed with," she says. "It was devastating. It was something my husband worked really hard to save for. It bothers him more than it bothers me."
Plummer and detectives are working hard to recover the ring, checking often with pawn shops. She's offering a no-questions, cash reward for anyone who reports to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police information on the ring or the laptop, which her husband uses in his work as a real estate appraiser.
Luckily no one was hurt in the break-in. The only Plummer family member home at the time was Caper, a Jack Russell Terrier. When Plummer's husband Brannon, 36, came home Monday to find Caper loose in the yard, he knew immediately something was wrong.
Police believe the thieves carried their haul out the backdoor, across a vacant house's yard and into an awaiting car, says Plummer, but none of her Dutchtown neighbors caught a glimpse of the Christmas crooks.
Plummer, an active member of her neighborhood watch who once caught burglars breaking into a neighbor's house, hopes her story will serve as a cautionary reminder to keep an eye out for neighbors.
"If you look out your windows, you can save somebody's Christmas," she says.
Despite the theft, Plummer is adamantly in love with her south St. Louis neighborhood.
"They don't win," she says. "I love where I live. I'm not ever moving. I'm not giving up on south city, but I want people to be aware that it doesn't mean you can let your guard down."
The space beneath the Plummers' tree isn't totally bare, though. Once the mess left behind had been picked up, Caper placed her bone under the tree - a heartbreakingly sweet "gift" from a pup.