Thieves swiping holiday decorations from yards across Jacksonville

Latest Grinch caught on Southside homeowner's surveillance video

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Several Jacksonville residents reported that crooks are trying to hijack their holidays.

Holiday decorations have been stolen out of yards on opposite sides of town.

The latest Grinch was caught on a Southside homeowner's surveillance video, trying his best to swipe a large projection light off the fence before giving up and taking off.

The homeowner told News4Jax on Wednesday that the light he bought from Walmart two days ago was just $15, but the crook cut several of the zip-ties that helped hold the light to the fence -- knocking down other ornaments.

The owner of the home on Bowlan Street, who asked to not be identified, said after seeing what his surveillance camera caught, he realized he wasn't the only victim in his neighborhood. 

"That's when I found out that this guy was actually going around stealing stuff, Christmas stuff, from people," he said. "My next-door neighbor, yesterday, got broken into. They stole some stuff from his house."

There's been case after case across the area. One Regency resident named Holly told News4Jax's Ethan Calloway on Tuesday that her surveillance alarm app alerted her at 4 in the morning that someone was trying to swipe her outdoor holiday light in her driveway.

"She casually walked up. She looked like she was in her PJs, and wearing flip flops, and just moved very slow and was not afraid at all (of) all the cameras, the lights," Holly said.

Holly said she scared the woman off by yelling over her alarm's outdoor speaker.

Holly and her neighbors believe the culprit is a newspaper delivery worker. The homeowner on the Southside thinks his trespasser isn't from his neighborhood.

Now, they all are having to explain this warped holiday spirit to the youngest victims.

"My daughter was actually really upset this morning, before she had to go to school," the Southside homeowner said. "She said, 'Daddy, why would somebody do that?'"

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith gave three pieces of advice to ward off bold holiday thieves.

If you can, Smith said, have your outdoor holiday decorations anchored in place.

He advised asking a neighbor collect any items you're expecting to be delivered to your home when you're not there.

Smith also suggested investing in a quality surveillance system, so when something like this happens, you'll have the evidence to help police catch the culprits. 

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