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Entries in Presents (2)

Friday
Dec232011

Holiday Grinches Steal Christmas in Massachusetts

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Looking for those last-minute Christmas gifts? Why not just steal them.  That seems to be the trend of the moment in Massachusetts, with no less than four separate Grinch-like thefts of Christmas gifts and decorations hitting families right before the holidays.

A Lawrence, Mass., mother, 41-year-old Zaida Ramirez, came home to find her apartment vandalized and most of her carefully wrapped Christmas gifts -- including Barbie dolls and a pair of coveted sneakers -- stolen.

A host of electronics equipment was also taken, including a television and several digital cameras, but it was the theft of the gifts that really broke Ramirez’s heart “I can’t believe it. It’s just like the Grinch. They stole our gifts and we don’t have the money to replace them. I have nothing for my family,” Ramirez told ABC News.

The family is managing to get by on a single salary in this tough economy.  Ramirez’s husband works in construction and has seen his hours cut back. After basic expenses there isn’t a lot left over for food, never mind gift-giving, so Ramirez isn’t sure what her kids will open on Christmas Day. “There is nothing left, I just don’t know what we’re going to do.”

But as sad as Ramirez’s story is, coming just days before Christmas, it isn’t unique. Thieves have made off with everything from Christmas lights to those gigantic festive inflatables that dot New England lawns at this time of year.

A father-daughter theft team even got in on the act in Quincy, Mass., where police have charged 58-year-old Michael Ritchie and his daughter, 19-year-old Jennifer Ritchie, with larceny after a neighbor spotted the duo stealing packages .

It turns out that Christmas is the time of year that the criminal mind gets inventive. Thieves have taken to following delivery trucks, like UPS and Federal Express, and grabbing boxes from doorsteps before the intended recipient makes it home, said Quincy Police Captain John Dougan.

In this case, the police report states that Michael Ritchie was found with a set of speakers and a series of CDs. Later police found baby clothes and Hello Kitty items,  intended as gifts -- inside Jennifer Ritchie’s home.

Federal Express is even warning their drivers to be cautious if they think they are being followed. And with more than 100 million packages being delivered this week alone, that’s a lot of potential boxes for Grinch-wannabes.

A Somerville, Mass., couple was also arrested for stealing more than 100 packages from doorsteps in their neighborhood and in nearby towns. Most of the swiped items seemed intended as gifts, such as fruit baskets, clothing and children’s toys.  It seems, though, like the Grinch, even the thieves are feeling badly about their pre-Noel pilfering. Kristen Casey burst into tears after she was arrested and her boyfriend Manuel Sheehan reportedly told police, “I feel like such a scumbag.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec212011

Mom Who Put Gifts in Wrong Car Says Someone Tried to Cash In

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(YPSILANTI, Mich.) -- A Michigan mom who was hoping for a Christmas miracle after she placed $700 worth of gifts in the wrong car was heartbroken when a store informed her that someone had tried to cash in on her mistake.

Linda Gipson, of Ypsilanti, accidentally placed boxes and bags of gifts in the wrong Ford Focus parked at a mall on Dec. 15.

The mom of five said she'd put the presents in the car and then returned to shop for another hour, only to emerge and realize she had made a terrible mistake.

"I parked in aisle 10, and the car wasn't there, so I turned around and saw a similar silver Ford Focus and realized that I must have used my key to open the trunk of the wrong car, because the car I put the gifts in was gone and my car was still in the lot," Gipson said. She was shocked to realize that her car key could work on the trunk of another car.

Now Gipson said she has little hope of recovering the gifts, especially after a store called her to report that a young woman had tried to exchange two of Gipson's gifts for cash. Gipson, who'd immediately notified all the stores of the mix-up, said the store manager at Arden B recognized the items and put a stop on the return. Gipson said the manager even noticed that the items were linked to the name of Gipson's daughter, who has a frequent shopper card at Arden B.

Gipson and police were stunned to realize that her car key had successfully worked to open the trunk of an identical car, which Gipson said led to the mix-up in the first place.

"I'm not an expert on keys and how many different combinations they have but -- it's a one in a million chance that this could happen. It's possible the trunk she went up to wasn't closed all the way. There are so many different possibilities but all of them remote," said Novi Assistant Police Chief Tom Lindberg.

ABC News checked with a variety of Ford dealers and locksmiths across the country, all of who said the same thing: Car keys are unique -- one of a kind -- and it would be virtually impossible for one car key to open a different car's door or trunk, even a car of the same year and model.

Gipson said she still had some presents for her children, ages 11 through 24, tucked away for Christmas morning, and had received donations from people who heard her story, although she insisted to the donors she was not asking for help.

"I don't know what else to say. It's sad," Gipson said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio