Local "grinch" steals church's Christmas decorations - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local "grinch" steals church's Christmas decorations

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

A local church told Eyewitness News it's been hit by "The Grinch." An unknown man stole First Presbyterian Church's Christmas decorations, and the whole thing was caught on tape.

"We're calling him the Grinch for the time being because we have no idea who he was," said Don Holwerda, church administrator.

Four Christmas wreaths, all donning bright red ribbons, were snagged from the church's front doors.

Church employees said the man didn't take any money or damage any property. "The grinch" didn't steal Christmas per se, but he did steal some holiday cheer from the congregation.

"He came with his own sack, filled one [wreath] at a time, put it over his shoulder and headed for his 'sleigh'," Holwerda said.

The wreath thief struck on December 5 around 11:30 p.m. He was brightly illuminated by motion sensor lights with a church surveillance camera pointing directly at him.

When viewing the tape, you can see the man walk up with a giant garbage bag. One by one, he snagged each wreath and stuffed them into his bag. He even struggled a bit while taking one of them down.

Eventually, the man grabbed the last wreath and sauntered off, slinging the bag over his shoulder in a similar style to Santa toting his bag of toys. Seemingly in no hurry, the man casually walked off into the night.

"We thought if we put a pack of Bibles out there, maybe he'd come and get those the next day and hand them out," Holwerda said.

Church members told Channel 3 the theft doesn't dampen their Christmas spirits, but it does make them wonder why the man did it.

"[The church] has areas that help people that need help," said Holwerda. "But apparently, he was ahead of the game and decided to help himself."

Employees said the wreaths were donated to the church. They didn't file a report with police, and suspect the man sold the wreaths for a few bucks.

"I hope he has a Merry Christmas."

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