Man steals Christmas presents from single mother in Florida

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Not one happy Christmas week so far for a Lakeland mum and her two daughters, ages 8 and 11.

According to Polk County Sheriff’s Officedetectives are looking for a suspect who broke into the home of a Lakeland family and stole their Christmas presents and other items.

Authorities said the victim left his home at 7 a.m. Monday to meet family members for breakfast. Moments after he left, “guess who’s coming, old Grinch himself,” the ever-colorful Sheriff Grady Judd said in a press conference video released by the department.

When the woman, a single mother, Judd said, returned home around 11:30 a.m., she saw her front door had been forced open and her home ransacked. All the wrapped Christmas presents were missing. So was a corporate laptop and a flat-screen TV.

The “Christmas Grinch 2021”

“He’s a Grinch, we always have to have one,” Judd said, holding up a photo of a man dressed in black, holding Christmas presents wrapped in red paper, taken from surveillance video.

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Screenshot provided by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office of a suspect stealing Christmas presents from a Lakeland home on December 20, 2021. Polk County Sheriff’s Office

“There’s always a Christmas Grinch that wants me to feature him as this year’s 2021 Christmas Grinch. Now obviously this guy’s got eggnog for a brain because we have video of him bursting into this house,” Judd said.

Detectives believe the man may be driving a 2019 or newer dark-colored four-door Chevrolet Malibu.

“This Grinch must be arrested and held accountable for his criminal acts. Thankfully detectives are working with Polk Sheriff’s Charities to ensure these children have a Merry Christmas despite this horrific act,” Judd said.

suspect-image-_fitted.jpeg
Screenshot provided by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office of a suspect stealing Christmas gifts and other items from a Lakeland home on December 20, 2021. Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Can you help ?

If you have any information about this burglary, the department asks you to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS.

This story was originally published December 22, 2021 11:59 a.m.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, winner of the 2017 Media Excellence Awards, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, city government, and general missions. He began his career in the Features department of the Miami Herald in 1991.
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