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Camera catches grinches in the act

Home surveillance video records vandalism of residential holiday display.

December 17, 2010|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

An Indianola Way resident whose rooftop holiday decoration display was vandalized just after 8 p.m. on Dec. 10 may have the last laugh after all.

Home video security camera footage now in the hands of Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station detectives captured two young men in the act, and investigators are hoping to use the tape to identify the vandals.

The footage, obtained by the Valley Sun and posted to YouTube, shows two young men in baggy sweatshirts exit a silver-colored SUV before sneaking up to the house in the 4900 block of Indianola Way and tugging at a stuffed animal that was part of an automated holiday sleigh.

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The two dash away only to return for another tug at the sleigh — this time breaking it — before running off with the stuffed animal they had detached moments earlier.

The car pulls into view about one minute and 45 seconds into the video. The first grab occurs two minutes and 30 seconds in, and the vandals return three minutes and 12 seconds in to strike again.

The video then repeats footage of the incident to provide a closer view.

The victimized resident was home at the time, heard noises and discovered the damage moments after it took place.

Investigators are treating the incident as both vandalism and petty theft, said Det. Todd Sams.

"It's not the crime of the century, but this resonates with people. To put up decorations only to have them vandalized is not cool. It's very un-holiday like," Sams said.

The damage and missing toy are valued at $550, and Sams hopes the video will lead to the homeowner finding restitution.

Investigators ask anyone recognizing the vehicle or two young men in the video to call the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station at (818) 248-3464.

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