The Grinch wants to steal your Christmas cheer. Standing in the way is the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.
In a series of videos posted to the department’s Facebook page, the sheriff’s office warns about holiday season thefts committed by grinches.
The videos show a person playing the infamous Dr. Seuss character in a Christmas parade occurring in one of Tulare County’s towns.
The Grinch first was arrested during Visalia’s Christmas parade on Nov. 27. The next day, Deputy Levi Reitsma and community liaison officer Liz Jones gave an update: The Grinch squeezed through a chimney pipe and “leg bailed.” He was seen with a little dog wearing antlers, pulling a sleigh stealing gifts. He was headed toward Porterville.
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“He came out of nowhere and he was running around and he took me by surprise,” Reitsma said. “He was talking about how he hates the Christmas spirit and he was going to steal it.”
On Nov. 30, dispatcher Samantha Elias made an announcement that the Grinch was spotted in the city of Porterville.
“The suspect appears to be grumpy and has no cheer,” a dispatcher said over the scanner. He was wearing a Tulare County Jail jumpsuit and was added to Tulare County’s “most wanted” list.
Sure enough, the Grinch was spotted at the Porterville Christmas parade on Dec. 1. A few hours later he was spotted with a stolen package at the Exeter Christmas parade. He was chased by the sheriff’s office mascot, Deputy Buzzbee, but appeared still to be outstanding.
On Saturday, the sheriff’s office posted “surveillance” footage of the Grinch trying to break into cars and steal belongings inside. The video was accompanied by a warning to keep vehicles locked and don’t leave valuables in visible places.
The Grinch idea blossomed when Sheriff Mike Boudreaux wanted a new way to interact with the community, Jones said. The department also has used the videos as a sort of public service announcement on safety during holidays.
But, Jones said the sheriff’s office didn’t realize the videos would be such a hit on social media, particularly Facebook, where they have garnered hundreds of likes and shares.
“My daughter was all scared that the Grinch was gonna steal Christmas this year,” one commenter said.
“Top ten list? Is there a reward for tips that lead to his capture?” another asked.
The Fresno Police Department also has posted a series of videos to its Facebook page showing surveillance footage of thieves stealing packages from doorsteps.
Keep an eye out for the grinch in your community as the sheriff’s office continues to track him and protect the spirit of Christmas.