Top Grinchiest Stories of the 2012 Holiday Season

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Given the number of recent Grinch-like thefts and other Grinch-like actions that have ruined Christmas for some, it looks like there are indeed people whose hearts are two sizes too small. Here’s a roundup of this season’s Grinchiest real-life tales, in honor of the Grinch’s legendary unwelcomed visit to Whoville.

Thieves Make Off with Toys Meant for Hundreds of Homeless Kids
A YWCA in Seattle purchased $6,250 worth of toys and intended to distribute them to 250 homeless kids, but the goods were stolen from an unused unit at a homeless shelter before they could be given away.

Drunk Guy Tells Kids There Is No Santa Claus During Christmas Parade
Police arrested a 24-year-old man in Kingston, Ontario, in late November after reports surfaced that he was walking along the route of the annual Santa Claus Parade and telling children that there was no Santa Claus. The man was charged with violating probation and causing a disturbance while being intoxicated. It was pretty easy for police to find him, too, as he was described as “having his hair formed to look like horns that were protruding from his head.”

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Christmas Trees Intended for Charity Ripped Off
The owners of an outdoor supply store in the West Roxbury section of Boston woke up one morning in early December to discover that the shop’s stereo was stolen, as were more than a dozen Christmas trees—trees that were supposed to be sold, with the profits going to local children’s hospitals. The owners said that over the past five years, they’d donated over $15,000 to charities by selling Christmas trees.

Delivery Man Drops Off One Package, Steals Another
Last week, a family in Houston received word that they’d received two packages dropped off during the day at their front door, but only one was there when they returned home in the evening. Turns out two packages were indeed delivered, but, as their home surveillance system revealed, the second delivery was made by a UPS staffer—who after dropping off his goods swipes the other package, which was delivered by FedEx. While most deliveries don’t bear company logos nowadays for fear of theft, surely delivery professionals can make educated guesses about what’s likely to be inside a given package. In this case, the stolen box contained an Apple iPad Mini. According to many testimonials submitted to online forums, this sort of thing happens all the time—only, unfortunately, it’s rarely caught on video. The UPS staffer was subsequently fired and arrested.

McDonald’s Strong-Arms Franchises into Staying Open on Christmas
In mid-December, word leaked that McDonald’s executives sent out a memo informing franchise owners that “our largest holiday opportunity as a system is Christmas Day,” while sending the request/order that they “ensure your restaurants are open throughout the holidays.” Considering that most other restaurants are closed on Christmas, the day could be quite lucrative for McDonald’s. But what about the mostly minimum-wage McDonald’s employees who have to leave their families and report to work? Per Advertising Age, McDonald’s says that staffers sign up for holiday shifts voluntarily, though “there is no regular overtime pay.” Regardless, some employees are worried that turning down a Christmas shift could cost them their job. “So it’s like if I take off Christmas, they might be like, take off the rest of the year,” one McDonald’s employee told ABC News.

Salvation Army Exec Charged With Stealing $2 Million Worth of Donations
Over a two-year period, a Toronto-based Salvation Army executive named David Rennie allegedly took $2 million worth of toys and high-end goods that were donated to the charity and sold them for personal profit. Rennie was recently fired after an internal investigation by the Salvation Army. Police began an investigation in November, the former executive turned himself in soon thereafter, and he now faces 40 charges, including theft, criminal breach of trust, and trafficking in stolen goods, reports the Toronto Star. While it is believed many of the pilfered goods are long gone, police filled three tractor trailers with allegedly stolen merchandise from a storage facility supposedly used by Rennie.

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Rugby Player Sentenced for Breaking Santa’s Jaw on Christmas
Richard Owen, a full-back for the Castleford Tigers (UK) professional rugby squad, was recently ordered to complete 200 hours of community service related to an incident that took place early in the morning of Christmas last year, when he assaulted a man dressed as Father Christmas, leaving him unconscious and with a broken jaw. Owens apologized for the incident, blaming it partially on “a dark period of my life” that occurred after he’d broken his leg and couldn’t play rugby for most of the 2011 season. He probably shouldn’t expect much under the Christmas tree this year.

On Black Friday, Man Brings Home 51-Inch TV But Leaves Toddler Behind
Bring a 2-year-old shopping in the middle of the night on Black Friday is probably not a good idea. It’s far worse, however, if you don’t bother bringing the kid back home. Around 1:30 a.m. in the wee hours of Black Friday, police in Springfield, Mass., got word that a 2-year-old boy was left in a car outside a K-Mart store. The 34-year-old man left in charge of the boy wasn’t inside the store, however. Police caught up with him at home, where he was setting up his just-purchased 51-inch TV. The man, who was supposed to be watching his girlfriend’s son, said that the boy wandered off inside the store, but he never reported the child missing. It’s not clear how the man, now being charged with reckless endangerment, made his way home, nor how the boy might have managed to get back inside the car. Must have been some great price on that TV though!

Holiday Care Packages for Troops Stolen
Yet another Grinch (or team of Grinches) broke into a Sacramento warehouse and stole $5,000 worth of packages intended for deployed troops. The holiday packages included some basic comforts from home, such as beef jerky, jelly beans, deodorant, and coffee, as well as personalized notes thanking the troops for their service. The boxes even had paid postage on them, leading charity organizers to hope that maybe they could wind up being sent to their intended recipients after all. “I really hope whoever took them won’t be so much of a Grinch, and will take them down to the post office,” one organizer said.

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Hey, the Grinch’s tale eventually wound up with a happy ending. Maybe this sad story could as well.