12/08/2011 01:29 EST | Updated 02/07/2012 05:12 EST

Christmas Presents For Quebec Flood Victims Stolen

Universal Studios

ST-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, Que. - If Quebec flood victims haven't suffered enough this year, they've just found out an anonymous grinch has stolen their Christmas gifts.

Someone stole $17,000 worth of gift certificates that had been donated to SOS-Richelieu, a charity that helps flood victims south of Montreal.

The gift cards were donated by large businesses and were intended to help people who suffered damage to their homes.

They were supposed to be handed out at a Christmas party next week.

Joy will still reign, however, because charity organizers kept records of all the card serial numbers and cancelled them immediately.<

They say the cards are being replaced.

The charity is warning people to be on the lookout for anyone trying to sell second-hand gift cards, especially in shopping centres.

The thieves are believed to have used a key lying around the office and broken in overnight.

An alarm system went off but police did not intervene, apparently believing it was triggered by janitors.

About 1,000 people were forced out of their homes this spring, and about 3,000 homes were damaged, when the Richelieu River overflowed on Montreal's south shore.