British Columbia

Christmas crime: Prince George Grinches stealing decorations from front yards

Some residents of Prince George, B.C., say a Grinch is on the loose, with holiday lights, decorative reindeer and giant snowmen going missing before Christmas.

'A bit of our Christmas spirit is being stolen from us,' says resident whose projector was stolen

People in Prince George are upset about Christmas criminals who are making off with holiday lights and other decorations. (Shutterstock / Smit)

Some residents of Prince George, B.C., say at least one Grinch is on the loose in the city, with holiday lights, decorative reindeer and giant snowmen going missing before Christmas.

"A bit of our Christmas spirit is being stolen from us," said Alex Deevy, just one of many residents who have suffered a holiday heist in the past few weeks. 

A projector that shimmered with snowflakes, stars and northern lights was stolen from Deevy's front yard on Dec. 8, leaving him confused and angry.

"I don't see how there's any black market money to be made from inflatables and projectors and string lights and the kind of things that have been going missing," he said. 

"I call it the Grinch factor, that someone's stealing Christmas decorations. It's just so wicked."

This inflatable snowman, more than two metres tall and anchored to the ground, was stolen from a front yard Christmas display. (Stephanie Prudente/Contributed)

Inflatable snowman disappears

Stephanie Prudente's family has put up an outdoor holiday display for more than a decade. 

Their front yard Christmas decorations brighten the neighbourhood and delight children at a school across the road. 

But then their two-metre-high inflatable snowman with a candy-cane scarf was stolen Nov. 30.

"It was really shocking," said Prudente, who discovered the snowman was gone.

"My mom was so upset because the snowman was her favourite," she said.

"It makes you feel a bit violated because someone was in your yard. All of the stakes were gone, too, so they spent some time [stealing it]," said Prudente.

The theft of a large inflatable snowman prompted Stephanie Prudente to put away every decoration she couldn't secure. That didn't include this Christmas dinosaur, which is frozen to the ground. (Betsy Trumpener/CBC )

Prudente has now pulled down every decoration she can't secure. 

All that remains is a large blue dinosaur with a Christmas tree in its mouth — because the inflated figure is frozen to the ground in her front yard.

Locals are sharing information about holiday heists through social media. (Facebook/contributed )

Crime hits Christmas gifts 

Some Canadian cities are tracking Yuletide thefts. But Prince George RCMP say they don't have any specific numbers on the disappearance of decorations. 

"Theft is theft. Other than vehicles and bikes, we don't track specific items," said RCMP Cpl. Craig Douglass.

However, Prince George RCMP recently revealed a pioneering bait package program to catch porch pirates who snatch gift deliveries dropped at front doors.

Police say it's a first for Canada and a sign police are taking theft seriously.

Prince George has already been dealing with an uptick in property crime this year. Over the summer, everything from fences to entire homes have been reported missing. 


Betsy Trumpener

Reporter-Editor, CBC News

Betsy Trumpener has won numerous journalism awards, including a national network award for radio documentary and the Adrienne Clarkson Diversity Award. Based in Prince George, B.C., Betsy has reported on everything from hip hop in Tanzania to B.C.'s energy industry and the Paralympics.