A Neighborhood Foils a Grinch
LOWELL -- Christmas decorations and strings of lights glowing on the front of houses is a typical scene across the city this time of year.
Pawtucketville resident Zazz Eang got into the spirit of the holiday, setting up decorations on the porch of his Endicott Street home on Friday.
Decorating is a tradition he and his children love.
The scene on their porch included a white Christmas tree Eang crafted himself, with several Christmas presents underneath. Next to that, a standup reindeer decoration. Also, hanging on the front door, a traditional Christmas wreath.
The decorations sat on the porch through the weekend.
And then they were gone.
On Monday morning, Eang left the house for work. At that point the 42-year-old didn’t notice the Christmastime crime his family fell victim to. His significant other did later on that morning.
“My girl calls me at work and goes, ‘Did you move the reindeer and the presents,’” Eang said. “I said, ‘No.’ So, I checked my surveillance video and noticed some decorations were missing.”
Eang went through the grueling process of reviewing the video to find out where they went. A portion of the thievery he discovered was then posted on his Facebook page.
In the surveillance clip, a woman casually walks up the porch steps of the Endicott Street home and gets to work freeing the reindeer from some wiring running to the decorations.
The thief doesn’t even flinch when a car drives by the house while she toils with the wires.
With the reindeer decoration in hand, she turns to the front door decorated with the wreath -- a big bow and ornaments hanging from it -- and tugs that free.
Arms loaded with the stolen holiday cheer, the woman strolls back to a car parked across the road. She stuffs the decorations in the back seat of the vehicle and then drives away.
Eang noted the surveillance video posted on Facebook includes only a portion of the Grinch-like crime committed. The woman had made a previous trip to the porch to steal a bunch of the light-up Christmas presents, he said.
The time stamp on the video shows the theft took place at around 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Eang’s family was home at that time, but they were all upstairs and didn’t hear a thing.
He shares stories of similar crimes of theft off porches taking place around the area -- and not just during the holiday season.
“I was furious because this happened to us last year,” Eang said. “We had our fall decorations up last year and we had some stuff stolen at that time as well. Scarecrows, pumpkins. That’s why we had the security cameras put in.”
Through the criminal activity came a bright spot -- support from the community, Eang added.
“There’s been a lot of supportive people sharing the (Facebook) post, trying to get this Grinch off the streets,” he said.
A few hours after making that comment, the story of the stolen decorations reached a happy conclusion.
“Thanks to all who shared my post,” stated KaleeKae Eang on a Facebook post. “We managed to find the person and we got our stuff back. The person who took it lived around our neighborhood. Thank you to the Lowell Police Department for helping us retrieve our belongings.”
In the comment section, KaleeKae wrote that there was no arrest but the suspect is going to be summonsed to court at a later date.
This situation has not deterred Zazz from decorating his house in the future.
“We do it because I enjoy it and the kids love it,” he said. “It’s not going to stop me from doing it. It’s just we need to be more conscious and pay more attention to the security system.”
Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis