DES PERES, Mo. – A Des Peres mother was devastated when she discovered her home had been burglarized. But what was most upsetting was what was taken from her two children.
“The worst part about it is they chose to take the kids` chore jar. Money that they had earned themselves,” Des Peres Department of Public Safety Det. Trent Koppel said.
The tip jars belonged to Liam, 8, and his sister Isabella, 12. The children’s jars contained loose change collected from completing various chores around the home.
Mother Veronica Zarfas broke the sad news to her son – and it wasn’t easy.
“I think as all eight-year-olds, it doesn’t really register to them. But then I asked him about it later. It actually had registered. He did say, ‘Yeah. They took my money. And that did make me upset,'” she said.
Liam wasn’t the only one upset. So was Detective Koppel, along with her colleagues.
“It struck a lot of chords with a lot of the parents that we have working hard every day here. They’re single parents, trying to provide for their children,” she said.
Normally, police departments are collecting tips. But in this case – they had a plan to give tips back. Koppel came up with an idea: ask all members of the department to help fill two new tip jars.
“Every member of the department put in something,” she said. “It came from the Chief, on down,” she said.
Days after the burglary, neighbors were surprised to see a huge presence outside the Zarfas’ home. Det. Koppel and members of the police and fire departments were standing outside.
Koppel knocked on the door.
“You guys mind coming out for a second? We have something for the both of you,” she said.
Koppel and her colleagues presented the children with two jars, along with some gifts.
Zarfas said she was overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of the department. She said it makes her feel safe – and loved.
“Not just physically. But also emotionally and mentally, too. That’s what this says to me,” she said.