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Beware: Inflatable Santa Thief on Loose

Officers say Christmas decoration theft happens, though rarely.

Is this a case of the Grinch who stole Santa?

Baltimore County police at the Franklin Precinct in Reisterstown still don’t know.

Sometime between Dec. 5 and 6, from a home on the 3400 block of Walnut Avenue in Owings Mills (not pictured.)

Now, here’s the bad news: For homeowners who love to deck their house, there's not much they can do to guard against holiday decoration theft, said Lt. Stephen Doarnberger, assistant commander at the Franklin Precinct.

“They are drawing attention to their home through the decoration, but sometimes that draws the wrong kind of attention…” he said.

Overall, holiday decoration theft in Baltimore County happens occasionally, but not in a "rash of theft," said spokeswoman Elise Armacost.

It’s rare in Howard and Montgomery counties as well, officials say.

Still, the headlines crop up occasionally across the region, and nationally.

Fredericksburg, VA, police recently charged a 25-year-old woman with swiping a baby Jesus doll from a local shopping center’s nativity scene, according to WTOP.

The tip that led to the arrest? The doll-swiper posted a picture of the filched figurine on her Facebook page, WTOP reported.

Last year, a thief stole a bunch of holiday decorations and then planted them in someone else’s yard in Parkville, Baltimore County police told WBAL.

Now here’s a different twist: A baby Jesus stolen from a hardware store in Utah was recently returned in a wheelbarrow, left in front of the store, reported the Christian Post, a Christian news website.

The hardware store owner was thrilled, sentiments he outlined in a statement on the store website.

“We have a Christmas miracle on our hands,” he wrote.

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