Grinches steal signs of the season

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published December 22, 2011

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Sarah Donovan is in the Christmas spirit. She decorated the outside of her home for the holiday. She even put a 3-foot-tall plastic Santa Claus on her front porch. Unfortunately, the Grinch has been trolling the neighborhood.

“I got home from a Christmas party around 10 p.m. and I went to the neighbor’s house to check on their dog. Santa was there when I left, and when I came back he was gone,” said Donovan.

She said there have been incidents at several houses in her neighborhood in recent days, four in total. One neighbor had some oversized Christmas bulbs ripped up from the lawn, and others had items stolen.

Birmingham Police Cmdr. Terry Kiernan said acts of theft and vandalism targeting holiday decorations are not uncommon.

“We’ve had, like, three incident in the past five days. Someone stole two homemade penguins. Someone damaged Christmas lights. Someone else stole decorations,” said Kiernan. “It’s just one of those things; 99 percent of the time it’s just juveniles causing malicious mischief. We’ll send someone over to check it out, but it’s not exactly a high priority.”

For Donovan, who found her stolen Santa lying in the road a few streets away, the offense is more serious.

“My kids were devastated. I can see this happening around Halloween because it’s more of a prankster kind of holiday. But Christmas? It’s just sad.”

She agrees that it was likely teenagers who are causing the havoc. According to Kiernan, though, there’s not much to be done to prevent such crimes.

“Parents should always know what their kids are doing, where they’re at and who they’re doing it with. But there are going to be kids out there screwing around. Whether they just pull the lights down or kick stuff over. Most of the time it’s nothing serious. You can’t put a fence around the yard just to protect Christmas decorations.”

Donovan hopes that parents will keep a closer eye on their teens — for the sake of Christmas spirit.

“Hopefully, the parents will read this and say to their kids, ‘Where were you last night?’”

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