The holiday season is in full swing and many people are eagerly awaiting the precious time they will get to spend with their loved ones. Generosity is in the air as parents seek out the best gifts for their children and many charities receive their highest volume of donations. Nevertheless, there are always a few people who want to spoil the festive mood, even if that means committing a felony. Here are four Grinch-like crimes that are committed frequently during the holiday season.
The Grinches Who Steal Decorations
The 2012 holiday season has already seen several thieves from across the country steal Christmas decorations from peoples' lawns. On Dec. 2, 2012, Bill and Rosemarie Rush came home to find that almost $400 worth of Christmas decorations had been stolen from the lawn of their San Fernando Valley, Calif. home. Among the items stolen were six inflatable decorations and around a dozen plastic candy canes. Two days later, this time in Ann Arbor, Mich., two men stole a combined $1,000 worth of Christmas decorations from seven different homes during the late-night and early-morning hours.
Again, a mere two days later, a Hialeah, Fla. family reported that its inflatable Christmas decorations were also stolen off its lawn. The inflatable decorations included Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Mickey Mouse and a snowman and were worth just over $100. Three days later, on Dec. 8, 2012, the Aguirre family of Visalia, Calif. reported that its homemade Christmas ornaments were stolen from its lawn.
The Grinches Who Steal Salvation Army Kettles
The Salvation Army is a Christian charity group that is perhaps best known for its bell ringers who collect donations on busy street corners and inside shopping malls during the holiday season. These bell ringers guard donation kettles that can store hundreds of dollars in donations. There are always a few reports each year of thieving Grinches pilfering cash from these kettles.
In November 2011, four hooded youths robbed a Salvation Army bell ringer at knifepoint outside of a Kmart in North Canton, Ohio. It could not be determined just how much money was taken, but the kettle had been accumulating donations for eight hours. A year earlier, two male robbers stole over $4,000 in donated cash from Salvation Army kettles at a location in Charlotte, N.C. where employees were counting the donation money.
On Nov. 28, 2012, a bell ringer was collecting donations outside of a grocery store in Louisville, Ky. when her kettle was stolen right in front of her. The man was chased after, but he got away in a car driven by an accomplice. Luckily, the license plate of the car was written down and reported.
The Grinches Who Steal Christmas Trees
Christmas-tree theft is another popular, Grinch-like crime during the holiday season. On the morning of Thanksgiving Day this year, someone stole 60 Christmas trees from a fundraising site in Ulster, N.Y. Just to further spoil the festive mood, the thief also destroyed the wooden display stand. The trees were worth around $3,000. A week earlier, someone also in New York state, stole a trailer filled with 350 Christmas trees, but thankfully all of the trees were recovered.
Between Dec. 8 and Dec. 9, 2012, thieves in Milwaukie, Ore. stole almost three-dozen trees from the Harvest Christian Church. Members of the church sell Christmas trees every holiday season in order to help cover basic operating expenses and fund outreach programs. By stealing the trees, the thieves cost the church an estimated $900.
The Grinches Who Stole Toys
In December 2010, someone stole $15,000 in toys from a Toys for Tots facility in Boston. The toys were going to be given to needy children. Earlier this month, someone broke into a YWCA storage building in Seattle and stole every single present, which amounted to $6,200 worth of toys. These toys were going to be given to children from low-income families, and included everything from skateboards and video games to hats and mittens.
The Bottom Line
One of the biggest holiday toy heists happened at a Salvation Army warehouse in Toronto. In November 2012, it was discovered that $2 million worth of toys were stolen from the facility over the course of two years, through what was described as an "intentional" and "targeted" scheme. Fortunately, the charity expects to recover most of the losses. Always be aware of Grinches. Criminals will steal anything at anytime of the year.
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