Officer Returns Confiscated Gifts Left Around Sacramento for Homeless

SACRAMENTO -- Tracy Lola Perez had a vision: Christmas trees for people who don't have homes to put them in.

"Because we live downtown we always see the homeless problem and we always promised that that would be our focus," Perez, who is with the California High Society, said.

Four trees, complete with 30 gift-wrapped presents each, strategically placed around Sacramento where homeless people hang out. In each gift a hat, a pair of socks and a pair of gloves.

"Those are the items they always ask us for when we're giving them food," Perez told FOX40.

The plan began to work. In fact, other people saw what she was doing and started to leave their own gifts under the trees too.

Then she saw something else. The tree she had left on the capitol grouns was gone.

Perez was devastated, but it turns out the man who had taken it down was devastated too. He was a CHP officer.

The officer had to take the presents away because they were gift wrapped and were deemed suspicious given their location.

"'We got seven phone calls before you were even done putting those presents down,'" Perez recalled the officer saying.

Yet, what he did next he did not have to do. The officer tracked Perez down on social media and returned the tree and all the gifts, still in the evidence bag they had been collected in.

"My honey's like, 'Why are you so emotional?' I was like, 'I don't know,'" Perez said.

Next year Perez is planning more trees. She's also planning to get permission before she sets them up.