WESTWOOD, N.J. -- "Do you know what it's like to go the mall with four teenage girls?" Bergen County Sheriff's Officer Wilbur Lloyd asked Monday night after a five-hour Christmas shopping spree in Paramus for the five daughters of late colleague Lt. Brian Beutel.
"We swept the entire mall," Lloyd told Daily Voice after the Garden State Plaza trip, made possible by a donation from LEO Only, a national law enforcement group.
Lt. Brian Beutel, 47, collapsed and died during a March charity basketball tournament at FDU in Hackensack for the Tomorrows Children’s Fund.
Two of his fellow sheriff's officers -- Lloyd and Nick Di Iorio -- accompanied Beutel's widow, Tamiko, to the mall with four of the couple's daughters: Olivia 17, Camilla, 14, Sophia, 14, and Tatiana, 12.
"The girls were so incredible," said Lloyd, of PBA Local 134. "They were keeping tabs, even though we kept telling them, 'Go! Just go!' We finished with something like 20 bags. It filled the back of the minivan."
And yet the girls went all of $8.34 over the $1,600 donation.
Tatiana got a couple of puzzle games at Marbles: The Brain Store. Her sisters all got clothes.
They even pooled their money to buy a Fitbit and a few extras for their older sister, Vanessa, 19, who is away at college.
"Those are the types of kids Brian and Tamiko raised," Lloyd said. "She was overwhelmed by everything -- as am I. She gained so much family in us that she didn't realize she had."
The Beutel offspring are among 67 children of deceased police officers nationwide getting police-escorted Christmas shopping sprees, the fruits of a labor of love by Pennsylvania State Police Sgt. Craig Polen.
Two years ago, Polen created a Facebook page only for law enforcement officers. It became LEO Only .
"There are so many groups on Facebook that are made up of civilians who like law enforcement, which is great," he told Daily Voice. "But the guys themselves don't have many safe havens where we can talk amongst themselves.
Since then, LEO Only has grown to nearly 30,000 civil servants nationwide and in a couple of other countries.
The shopping sprees are a natural outgrowth.
"The surviving parents of these children have to pay the bills even if money isn't there," Polen explained. "So those immediate needs must be taken care of first. Unfortunately, Christmas also gets wiped off the table and the kids are left behind.
"We're just paying it forward is all."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.