Southfield family seeks help after break-in

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

This Christmas has been tough for Kristen Crane and her family.

Some 12 hours after returning from a lengthy hospitalization, the single mother from Southfield was rushed to the emergency room early Wednesday for complications. Then, later that day, her two sons learned thieves had allegedly broken into their home, stealing TVs, computers, even gifts yet to be wrapped, friends and relatives said.

“She’s been through so much,” said her sister, Stephanie Crane. “Just to take advantage of her when she was down is really low.”

That blow atop a long recovery and mounting medical bills spurred Kristen Crane’s friends into action and, in spirit of the season, giving-mode.

Former classmate Jamie Douglas launched a GoFundMe page to defray the longtime nurse’s expenses as well as “help make it a bit easier for recovery and to have Christmas with her family,” she wrote at the site.

“Kris never asks anyone for anything and she’s always quick to help people,” said Carlos Oxholm, who met her at Shrine Catholic High School in Royal Oak and initially informed other friends about the break-in online.

“She’s always been just the sweetest. … I also know she won’t ask anyone for anything, either. I just wanted to get the word out. I just had a feeling that people would want to come to her side because she’s always been one to come to other people.”

Crane hadn’t been at home long enough to unpack her car from the hospital stay when she called Oxholm for a ride to the ER early Wednesday.

Sometime during her absence, thieves kicked in the front door at the house she’s lived in for more than a decade, Oxholm and her sister said.

When Crane’s teen sons returned about 2 p.m., they discovered a host of items missing, including two laptops, an Xbox, a PlayStation 4, two flatscreen TVs, a soundbar and video games. They also lifted the green camouflage L.L. Bean backpack in which eldest son James McClain, an aspiring artist and high school senior, toted his class work and sketch pads, he said.

Two days after filing a police report, the 17-year-old still found it difficult to describe how the theft hindered the family’s already-diminished holiday.

“It just gave it a negative vibe,” he said while with his aunt and younger brother on Christmas night. “It took away a part of it.”

Aaron McClain, right, James McClain are the sons of Kristen Crane

Southfield police did not immediately respond to requests for information on an investigation Friday; Crane’s relatives said they haven’t been informed about any suspects.

Oxholm immediately repaired the door and neighbors have been watching out. The family also hopes to install a security system so Kristen Crane can feel safe once she returns home, her sister said. “You can replace material things, but you can’t replace peace of mind.”

As Kristen Crane recovers in the hospital, supporters are rallying around her. More than $3,700 had been raised on GoFundMe through late Friday.

“A lot of people love and care for my sister. She’s a nurse and she does everything for everybody else. That’s her job in life, to take care of other people,” Stephanie Crane said. “Just right now, getting a little bit of that care coming back to her, would mean a lot.”

The generosity also reflects the holiday season, Douglas said. “I hope more people would live their lives this way — try to do more for others.”