In Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” the Grinch is said to be a monster who has a heart that’s nothing more than an empty hole. As festive as Christmas can be, there are plenty of Grinches looking to steal your cheer — and your presents.
There are stories every year about burglars stealing gifts, but the most egregious case this season has to be from Phoenix, Ariz., where burglars broke into a home, stole packages from under the Christmas tree — and took the family’s new puppy, an 11-week-old Cavapoo named Rosa. Her water bowl and food were swiped for added insult.
While there is no foolproof way to prevent a break-in, police encourage shoppers to be alert, to hide packages or valuables that need to be left in the car and not to leave cardboard boxes that held expensive items at the curb after Christmas.
The explosion of online sales in recent years has created an easier target for thieves during the holiday season — gifts left on the front porch. However, there are safeguards that can help prevent a person from being victimized.
• Get a tracking number so someone can be home at the time of delivery. If possible, ask the delivery service to request a signature.
• Have the gift dropped off at a side door or a back door where it will not be left in plain sight.
• If no one will be home, ask a neighbor to accept the package.
• If the gift is not too large, have it dropped off at a workplace.
• Ask the shipper if the package can be picked up at a distribution center.
Christmas gifts aren’t the only items thieves want. As difficult as it would be to have someone take that watch or doll purchased for a special someone, it would be worse if thieves stole guns or teenagers stole alcohol from an unlocked vehicle. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
In Dr. Seuss’ tale, the Grinch’s heart triples in size, he returns all the gifts, and he joins the Whos for dinner. Such a story of Christmas repentance is unlikely in real life, so be alert and take precautions.