Kristina Tennyson took to Facebook to register her dismay when someone stole an inflatable Santa Claus on a helicopter from her home on the 100 block of Bella Flora Lane sometime after 10 a.m. and before 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15.
“My 2-year-old Gary picked it out last year,” Tennyson said of the stolen yard ornament.
Tennyson said her street had a rash of property crimes during the summer, but those incidents subsided in October, when the weather cooled and fewer thieves tend to be on the streets.
She said her family secured a remaining “Happy Holidays” sign with a bike chain and padlock.
Pattersonite Wendy Lopez also took to Facebook when her lighted pig angel went missing on Las Palmas Avenue.
“Boy I thought I had him secured pretty darn good, they even took the five foot iron plant hook I had him attached too,” Lopez wrote on the Patterson Irrigator’s Facebook page.
Such thefts have become common, said Sgt. John Walker of Patterson Police Services.
“It happens all over this time of year,” he said. “It isn’t just Christmas for us — it’s Christmastime for thieves, too.”
A few measures can stop some of the yard thefts and other similar crimes that have become prevalent during the Christmas season, he said.
Yards should be well lit, beyond just displaying Christmas lights, and decorations should be placed near the home and away from the street, he said.
The rule, he said, is that anything that would make crooks exert extra effort will send them away.
Keeping inflatable decorations inflated during the day makes it harder for thieves to walk away with them, Walker said. Using coat hangers to anchor stakes can make them more secure, too.
“Sometimes it just comes down to opportunity,” Walker said. “You just need to take away the opportunity, and they’ll go elsewhere.”
He advised residents to use permanent markers to write their names on the back of decorations, making it easier for police to return the items if they are recovered.
Decorations displayed inside a house but visible from outside, such as a Christmas tree in a front window, can create an opportunity for thieves to steal presents, which are typically found near or under the tree, Walker said.
“As always, don’t leave belongings or presents in plain sight in a car,” he added. “’Tis the season for stealing, as well.”
• Contact Nick Rappley, ext. 31, at 892-6187, or firstname.lastname@example.org