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What's the Penalty for Stealing Christmas Decorations?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on December 07, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Sadly, not all of us see the holidays as a time for cheer. And it would be nice if those Scrooges among us would just say, "Bah, humbug," and move on.

But for some, the holiday spirit means stealing Christmas decorations from someone else's yard. And not just any decorations: an animated jack in the box, drums, mustang, and tricycle from a drive-thru Christmas lights display. So, what's going to happen to these local Grinches?

Stolen Christmas Spirit

According to the Colleton County Sheriff's Office in South Carolina, the pilfered decorations were reported stolen over the weekend and found Wednesday at a house about 7 miles away from the Lights of Peniel Christmas display just off Interstate 95 in Walterboro.

Deputies executed a search warrant and found other stolen items at the residence, but no one was home and no arrests have been made yet.

WTOC reports the Crosby family have poured their hearts into the light display, creating all the illuminations by hand and inviting people to see them for free. Barry Crosby welds the shapes and his wife Cathy adds the lights. "We sort of thought if someone had them they would chuck them in the woods somewhere to get rid of them," Cathy said. "These people actually had them displayed in their front yard."

Grand Display, Grand Larceny

According to reports, the thieves made off with about $6,000 worth of decorations. Under South Carolina's theft and fraud statutes, that constitutes grand larceny, a felony offense for which you can serve five years behind bars.

State theft and larceny laws -- and the penalties for breaking them -- can vary depending on where you live. If you've been accused of theft and don't want to celebrate the holidays in prison, contact a local criminal defense attorney.

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