WINNIPEG -- In a story straight out of a novel, a Christmas Grinch has been stealing decorations out of people’s front yards in Charleswood.

But just like the book by Dr. Seuss, it only brought the community closer.


The first theft started when Dean Mason’s Santa went missing one morning.

“Somebody absconded with Santa and no ransom note,” chuckled Mason.

To warn his neighbors about the kidnapping, Mason made a sign that read: “To the person who stole our light up Santa, may you find peace.”

It wasn’t long before he found out he wasn’t the only one on the block hit by the Christmas thief.

“I thought this was a one-off, grab Santa quickly and go. Found out there was a guy out there literally pulling people’s lights off their trees," Mason said.


Another resident in the area, Stacey Burrows, said one of her neighbours sent a message asking if anyone else had decorations stolen from their yard. Turns out, there was.

Neighbours then started a group chat where they could tell each other what they had seen and share any surveillance video they had.

"We dubbed the group the 'Grinch Watch,'" Burrows said.


A few days after the start of the Grinch Watch, Burrows spotted a man acting suspiciously outside of her house when she went to check on Noel, her elf.

"Thursday night I came downstairs cause I had to see my elf, and make sure he was fine."

Burrows alerted the group chat.

A fellow Grinch Watch member then observed the suspicious man go into her neighbor John Inglis’ garage and warned him of what was happening.

"I walked into the garage and this [car] door was wide open and there was a guy’s feet sticking out," said Inglis.

Unfortunately for the suspect, Inglis’ old RCMP training kicked in. He grabbed the suspect and told him he was under arrest before dragging him out of the garage where his neighbours jumped in to help.

"We got him on the ground and subdued him and one of our other neighbours happens to be a Winnipeg police officer and she was able to formally tell him he was under arrest," Inglis said.

On-duty officers arrived moments later to take a 31-year-old man into custody.

He is charged with multiple counts of break and enter and possession of stolen property.


It doesn’t end there -- the community has continued to support each other.

After CTV News Winnipeg spoke to Mason, he sent a message saying he went outside and found a new Santa on his step.

He went on to say how he lives in an amazing neighbourhood and how the gesture brought a tear to his eye.

Mason also confirmed that Santa has been put back in his rightful place.


On Monday morning,  Mason reached out to CTV News via Twitter with the following update:

“Some time either last night or early this morning in the bitter cold, I noticed Santa had some new friends and a note in our mailbox. See the attached pictures. My wife has MS and both the gestures mean so much to us. We are truly blessed with great neighbours."