How a Grinch stole Christmas decorations

Tuesday, December 3, 2002

Most folks down in Cape-ville like Christmas a lot. But a Grinch, who stole holiday decorations, clearly does not.

Far from Dr. Seuss' Who-ville, this Grinch -- or Grinches -- stole more than 30 festive items from the lawns of at least eight Cape Girardeau homes over the weekend, police said, before dumping the decorations in the parking lot of Notre Dame High School and in Cherokee Park.

Police wouldn't rule out a motivation that perhaps this Grinch's heart was maybe two sizes too small. But they were leaning toward a theory that involved youngsters pulling a prank.

"They probably just thought it would be funny to steal these and dump them at the Notre Dame parking lot," said patrolman Jason Selzer. "Every year we get something like this."

Many of the decorations -- mainly plastic Santas, reindeer, snowmen and elves -- have been claimed by their owners, but the police garage is still housing several of the decorations. All of the misdemeanor thefts took place in the northwest side of town.

One of the victims was city council member Matt Hopkins, who had a 3-foot Santa and reindeer taken Saturday night from his Tulip Lane home.

"I got home, and the decorations were all over the place and Santa was gone," he said. "I was steamed. My kids are little, and they were upset that somebody would steal Santa Claus."

This was the first year Mona Copeland, who lives at 1902 Sherwood, put up decorations, including a couple of animated reindeer that were stolen but later recovered.

"It doesn't sound very Christmasy, but now I've got to go to Lowe's to buy a chain before I put them back out," she said.

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