Stealing Christmas decorations from Long Island homes may guarantee landing on Santa’s naughty list, but thieves who struck this holiday season also caught the attention of Nassau and Suffolk county police.
Authorities received at least 20 reports of holiday-related thefts or criminal mischief over the past month, although that statistic is likely a fraction of such cases when factoring in crimes that go unreported. Stats were unavailable for thefts of packages containing holiday gifts stolen from outside homes before recipients retrieved them.
Most recently, Suffolk Police Hate Crimes Unit detectives said they are investigating the theft of a baby Jesus statue from a nativity scene in front of St. Mary’s Church on West Main Street in East Islip between 1:15 p.m. Christmas Day and 9 a.m. Dec. 26.
A month prior, 31-year-old Tinisha Delacruz was arrested for stealing an inflatable snowman from the front lawn of a house on Ackerman Street in her hometown of Central Islip, police said. She was charged with petty larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
A Suffolk police spokeswoman said that those were the only two Christmas-related thefts that she was aware of, and that the agency cannot search theft reports by the type of item stolen.
In Nassau, police reported nine stolen Star Shower Laser Light Projectors, five stolen inflatable holiday decorations—including an eight-foot Polar Bear, Santa Claus, Grinch, snow man and an 11-foot Hanukkah decoration—and three other types of decorations stolen from Massapequa and Manhasset. At least one victim reported that someone cut the cord to their Christmas lights.
Of course, none of this is a new phenomenon. Among the most notable cases in recent memory came in 2011, when a thief went as far as stealing cash from the kiosk where parents took their children to meet Santa Claus at Walt Whitman Mall in South Huntington.