Meet elf Freddie, the newest member of the detective squad.
For children across the country, the holiday season officially starts with the first appearance of an Elf on the Shelf. The plush elf comes with the promise that he is watching to report to Santa whether a child belongs on the naughty or nice list, but over the years, the elf has become more active in families’ holiday traditions.
In the Villahermosa family, Freddie the Elf has been visiting 8-year-old Jovani for the past five years. Freddie quickly became more of a member of the family than just a holiday decoration. But when a real-life grinch stole mom Lorraine Villahermosa’s purse, with Freddie tucked inside, it took some creative police officers to keep the holiday spirit alive for Jovani.
“I was so upset!” Villahermosa told A Plus via email. “I couldn’t believe I hadn’t taken him out of my purse beforehand.”
Villahermosa’s purse was found, but unfortunately, the bag, along with Freddie, could not be released as long as the Prince William County Police Department was still investigating the crime. When Dec. 1 rolled around and Freddie was nowhere to be found, Jovani was devastated.
“I was broken-hearted to see how my son reacted when he realized Freddie didn’t show up that morning,” Villahermosa said. “He was so confused and devastated and didn’t understand why he hadn’t come.”
The solution wasn’t as easy as buying a new elf. The family had bought Freddie so long ago the design of the elf had changed. Knowing how much Freddie meant to Jovani, Villahermosa went to the police station to explain the situation.
The officers came up with a solution that could allow them to keep working on Villahermosa’s case but would also save Christmas. Led by Sergeant Jonathan Perock, the station took a series of photos of Freddie at the station helping carry out official police business. The officers snapped photos of the elf checking out a lineup of cartoon characters, hanging out with staff and showing off his new detective’s badge.
“A child shouldn’t have to be exposed to something like a purse being stolen and have to handle that,” Perock told PopSugar. “We wanted to handle it and do it quickly so the mom had an explanation to her child.”
Complete with status updates from Perock, Villahermosa showed Jovani what Freddie had been up to, and Jovani loved to hear about the adventures his friend was having. Jovani was so proud, he told everyone at school about Freddie’s new job.
“There are no words really to describe how much this experience has impacted our holidays, let alone our lives,” said Villahermosa. “It has given us a set of memories that we will always be able to look back on. It warmed heart to see just how people, who I had never met, would be so willing to help set up this adventure. When my son is older and has children of his own, he will be able to share this amazing story of the Adventures of Freddie.”