Coconut Creek officers plant memorial tree in place of stolen one

Woman expresses gratitude for officers' humanity, generosity

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – A Coconut Creek woman expressed a heartfelt gratitude to two police officers after they replaced a stolen tree that was planted in memory of her father.

Diane Ippolito said she called police on Friday after she noticed the tree was gone. The tree was planted in memory of her father.

Ippolito said her mom cared for the tree every day and that when it was stolen, it was like losing her dad all over again.

"Whoever stole it had no idea how that affected my family," Ippolito said.

The officers who responded to Ippolito's call, Officer Steven James and Officer Sean Reynolds, comforted Ippolito's mother, assuring her that it was not a silly call to have made, and they questioned with her why someone would steal a tree.

Ippolito said Sgt. Chris Markland decided to buy a new tree, and the officers planted it in the exact same spot as the previous one. They then said a prayer for Ippolito's father.

"I call it a Christmas miracle, because in a day and age where there is so much tragedy, anger and self-centeredness, humanity and generosity superseded all of that," Ippolito said. "The good guys came through and brought more joy to a grieving family than they could ever know."

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