UPDATE: The "Grinch of Chattanooga" facing even more charges - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: The "Grinch of Chattanooga" facing even more charges

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The man police dubbed the “Grinch of Chattanooga” is facing additional charges in relation to a string of thefts last December.

Police arrested 23-year-old Tony Ho on April 26 and charged him with theft of property and criminal trespassing.

According to court documents, the charges stem from a theft that occurred on Creek Drive on December 30, 2015. The victim reported $1,600 worth of home décor and clothing being stolen from his front porch shortly after it was delivered.

Surveillance video taken from the area connected Ho to the theft and a rash of others. Police told Channel 3 the video shows Ho stealing two packages from a doorstep in the Council Fire neighborhood of East Brainerd and driving away in the same van used in a similar incident reported in Hixson. 

The case against Ho will be heard by a Hamilton County grand jury.


 PREVIOUS STORY: Tony Ho, 23, the man police have coined the "Grinch of Chattanooga", is wanted on another theft charge in connection to an incident from December 3rd.

Police say video shows Ho stealing two packages from a doorstep in the Council Fire neighborhood of East Brainerd and driving away in the same van from a similar incident reported in Hixson. 

Channel 3 has also learned that Ho was arrested in Alabama on May 28 of this year for possession of marijuana, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, and drug paraphernalia.


PREVIOUS STORY: The story quickly went viral: A man, police coined the "Grinch of Chattanooga," wanted in connection to stolen packages. 

Police say the man stole gifts from doorsteps days before Christmas. 

"I looked out the window and I saw this guy running with our package," Katy Helms said. 

One of those packages, a Power Ranger bicycle, for Helms' four-year-old grandson. Less than an hour later, Helms says the bike was returned at Target. 

"He had already returned the bicycle and gotten store credit and used the store credit," she said. 

Police identified Tony Ho, 23, as the culprit using surveillance video charging him with one count of theft. But Ho says there's more to the story.

He contacted Channel 3 through Facebook. He declined to go on camera but did say he's never been in trouble before. A check of Hamilton County records show Ho does not have a criminal history. But records do show Ho was arrested in Barbour County, Alabama in May on drug charges. 

Ho does not deny returning the bicycle but says he was doing a favor for a man, driving a white van, he met in a restaurant parking lot that day. 

"He was from Georgia and he forgot his ID, so they wouldn't let him," Ho wrote. 

He went on to say the man insisted the bike wasn't stolen and produced a receipt. 

"He was just trying to get it exchanged for his kids. Out of the kindness of my heart, I said sure," he added. 

Ho says the man instructed him to use the store credit to buy another toy. A gesture Ho says has no labeled him something he's not. 

It's a story he will now have to share with a judge as police say they're working to see if other cases may be connected. 

"We know of several occurrences in the Hixson area, but this guy is mobile, so he can go anywhere in the city," Chattanooga Police Officer Mark Frazer said. 

We hoped to talk with Ho on camera today, he didn't make himself available but our offer to tell his full story stands. 

He's due in court on the theft charge on January 11.


PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga police say that suspect Tony Ho has turned himself in as of Wednesday morning.

Tony Ho, age 23, turned himself in at the Hamilton County Jail early this morning.

He’s charged with one count of theft of property and is due in court on January 11. His bond has been set at $1,000.


PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga police call it a "crime of opportunity." 

"We have a Grinch that's trying to steal Christmas," Officer Mark Frazer said. "Lots of presents, lots of packages being delivered by delivery services. Often times they're left on the porch when the recipient isn't home."

Police believe Tony Ho, 23, is responsible for stealing Christmas from Chattanooga residents. One of those victims is Katy Helms' 4-year-old grandson. 

"I looked out the window and I saw this guy running with our package," Helms said.

After calling police, Helms and her family rushed to Target in Hixson, with receipt in hand, to report the package containing a Power Ranger bicycle, stolen right off their doorstep. But they quickly learned their "Grinch" was already a step ahead. 

"He had already returned the bicycle and gotten store credit and used the store credit," she said. 

Police were able to pull pictures from surveillance video to see who they were working with and what he is driving. They believe Ho is connected to other crimes like this one in the area. 

"We know of several occurrences in the Hixson area, but this guy is mobile. He can go anywhere in the city," Frazer added. 

"It's awful to do that, especially at Christmas and you feel safe in a good neighborhood," Helms said. 

Police need your help getting this "Grinch of Chattanooga" off the street before he strikes again. 

Helms says her family did get the bicycle back. 

Police say if you know where Ho is or if you think you may be a victim, they want you to call them at 423-698-2525.   


PREVIOUS STORY: According to Chattanooga Police Department's Facebook page there is a man running around town taking packages from people's front porches that have been delivered by UPS, FedEx, or USPS. 

CPD has named him "the Grinch of Chattanooga." Police say his real name is Tony Ho, releasing the information on Twitter Tuesday evening. 

Ho has also been seen driving a white vehicle. 

Chattanooga Police say Ho will be hearing from them "in the very near future with your help OR, better yet, he can contact us directly as we are all about providing service and ease of access."

CPD provided tips on packages you are expecting:

  • If you are receiving packages, make sure you know what time they will be delivered. If you can't be home during this time then have the package held at the delivery center and pick it up at your earliest convenience.
  • If you receive or purchase a large item, like a TV be sure to break down the box or take it directly to the City dump. If the box is intact and on the street you're alerting any would-be criminals that a new TV (or large ticket item) is in your home.

If you have any information on this crime or any suspicious behavior in your neighborhood call 423-698-2525. 

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