Don’t be surprised if you see the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge in an upcoming line-up at the Richmond Hill Police Department. Cpl. Susan Willis said numerous reports of vandalized or stolen Christmas decorations have come in over the last week or so.
"It’s definitely a case of ‘bah humbug,’" Willis said.
Capt. Mike Albritton said the department is investigating at least half a dozen cases of vandalized or stolen holiday décor from the lawns of Richmond Hill residents. He said the crimes began at the beginning of the month, with two per week reported to authorities.
"This is the most cases we’ve had of this nature than ever before," Albritton said. "In the past, we may have had some vandalism like those big candy canes that line the driveway being broken, but we haven’t had incidents pour in on a regular basis like this. This time of year, why would someone want to disrespect peoples’ property? These property owners are just appalled that someone would do something like this."Albritton said the crimes are not limited to one area. The location of the reports ranges from Richmond Place to Piercefield to Sterling Creek to Live Oak. Most of the reports reflect stolen or vandalized inflatable Christmas decorations.
In the Turtle Hill subdivision, three inflatables were reportedly slashed. On Blue Wing Drive in Piercefield Forest, blow-ups of the Grinch and his dog Max were reportedly stolen. An inflatable Santa was allegedly taken from a lawn on Sterling Creek Drive.
Albritton said reports have come in where decoration theft was attempted, but attempts were thwarted when either an alleged thief was spotted by the property owner or deterred by the items being secured tightly to the property.
A vehicle description was gathered by a witness at one of the locations, which Albritton has distributed to patrol officers. Albritton said no arrests have been made, but the incidents are being investigated.
Albritton said this could likely be a case of "kids being bad" and referred to a holiday vandalism case he solved a couple years back. In that case, he ended up taking three juveniles into custody after connecting them to an incident where a baby Jesus statue was removed from the nativity scene in Mulberry resident Greg Charron’s front lawn and smashed in the street.
If anyone has any information about these crimes, the RHPD encourages them to call the crime tip line at 459-BUST.