Archive for Saturday, December 11, 1999

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS ARE DISAPPEARING

December 11, 1999

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Thefts of decorations can put a damper on Lawrence residents' holiday spirit.

and Felicia Haynes

Journal-World Writers

Each December, a Scrooge or a whole pack of Grinches sneak into Lawrence and Christmas decorations begin to disappear.

"I can't think of a Christmas season that hasn't happened," said Officer Dave Anderson with the Lawrence Police Department. After residents drag out their decorations and light up the night, a few disappear.

"It's a very unfortunate seasonal thing," Anderson said.

Last year, Lynne and Bill Stype's stuffed Mr. and Mrs. Claus were swiped from a bench in front of their home, but were returned later. This year, Minnie and Mickey Mouse and two decorative deer are among the missing.

A week ago, Kim Ribordy, who lives in the 2700 block of Meadow Drive, was driving around Lawrence with a friend enjoying the decorations on other homes. When they returned to Ribordy's house they found her display had been plundered.

Inside a wooden sleigh made by her stepfather, 3-foot-high Minnie Mouse sat alone.

Mickey was missing.

"I was floored," Ribordy said. "I thought maybe it was a joke at first."

On Monday night, Minnie Mouse was in the sleigh when Ribordy came home around 5:45 p.m. But by the time her husband, Scott, came home a half-hour later, Minnie was gone, too.

"The front door was wide open and the television was on," she said, but brazen thieves still stole the figure.

Ribordy took her Mickey and Minnie Christmas flag down, afraid to lose it, too.

"All we have now is an empty sled," she said.

Down the street, she said, another neighbor has had several of the bulbs from a light display stolen.

"What kind of person would steal Christmas decorations?" she asked. "... It's kind of put a damper on the Christmas spirit."

Mickey and Minnie weren't the only victims of the season. Between Sunday night and Monday morning, someone stole two decorative deer that Barb Roos has displayed in her front yard for four years.

"It doesn't make sense to me," she said.

The deer, which are made out of grapevine branches, had been displayed in her front yard in the 4300 block of West 13th Court.

Roos said that last summer someone stole a concrete deer from her back yard but that the recent theft was different.

"I can't believe that someone would do this at Christmastime," she said. "I would like to see them returned out of the Christmas spirit."

Ribordy also hopes to see her Mickey and Minnie again.

"I would hope that somebody would return them," Ribordy said. "If nothing else, we just wanted to let people know this was going on, that somebody was being a Scrooge."

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.

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