Stealing Christmas

Homeowners in one area of town are fed up with petty crimes. Some people that live around the country club in Wichita Falls say the thefts always happen around the holidays. That area is always lit up and homeowners and police say all the attention it gets brings in criminals.

From one house to the other, the lights across Avondale Street light up at dusk.

"There are hundreds of cars a night that come by here, carriages that come by here," said homeowner Leo Mercer.

A few weeks ago Leo Mercer noticed that a part of his Christmas storyline was gone.

"I hope to get my small polar bear back," he said.

It was stolen, in the middle of the night.

"In the last several years since we've been doing a lot more sophiscated more scene type decorating we've seen more theft and more theft of props," he said.

This time the thief was caught on camera. In the surveillance video a car drives up, it stops and a man gets out. He then plucks Leo's polar bear out from the yard.

"People that are going to steal things like that are going to go to areas of town where those things are and target those things," said Sgt. John Spragins with the Wichita Falls Police Department.

Police report that they have received a few reports of thefts in that area of town but nothing more than other locations. Police say they increase patrols during the holidays around shopping centers not necessarily neighborhoods. They encourage homeowners to take extra precautions when putting up Christmas decorations.

"Those things are secured to part of the property or trees or things like that maybe it would make it more difficult for the thieves," said Sgt. Spragins.

With his video out Leo hopes that the culprit is caught.

"It's annoying, it's disappointing, it's put together for the benefit of the community."

He says he's tired of people stealing Christmas. His family puts up the decorations every year and its mainly for the public to view since carriages and cars drive by every night. He's disappointed that someone from the community would take away what others enjoy.

The theft occurred December 1. If you recognize the person in the video you can contact the police at (940) 720-5000.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6.