LAKELAND, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is on the hunt for this year’s Christmas “grinch”; a man they say broke into a house and stole Christmas gifts days before the holiday.
“Obviously this guy has eggnog for a brain,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “Because we have video of him breaking into this house.”
Judd said the suspect, pictured below, broke into the Lakeland home just minutes after the owner, a single mother, left on Monday morning. This happened in the Longfellow Boulevard area, which is east of Lakeland.
On Thursday, the sheriff’s office said the suspect was identified as 28-year-old Raheim Jamaar Johnson, also known as “City.”
Authorities said an arrest warrant has been issued for Johnson. If anyone has whereabouts information, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS. If your information leads to Johnson’s arrest, you could get a cash reward.
The sheriff’s office said she found the house ransacked when she returned around 11:30 a.m.
The victim immediately called the sheriff’s office. Authorities said Johnson stole all of the wrapped Christmas gifts, a company laptop and a flat-screen TV. Judd said the items are valued at $1,600.
The sheriff’s office said Johnson may have been driving a dark-colored 2019 or newer Chevrolet Malibu 4-door.
Judd said the gifts were for the woman’s 8- and 11-year-old daughters. Judd said the sheriff’s office hopes to collect the gifts, but if not, Polk Sheriff Charities will work with the family.
“This Grinch needs to be arrested and held accountable for his criminal actions. Fortunately, detectives are working with Polk Sheriff’s Charities to ensure these children have a Merry Christmas despite this horrific act. Please contact our detectives for any information on this burglary, or call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS to remain anonymous,” Judd said.