BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — On December 8 an elderly woman called the police and told them that her Christmas lights had been stolen. Since then, there’s been at least three other reports like it.
“Every year around this time people start putting decorations out,” said Det. Sgt. Todd Elliott with the Battle Creek Police Department. “We always get some reports of decorations being stolen.”
The most popular items stolen this year are the star-shower lights and the projector lights, he said. They’re small and lightweight making them easy targets.
“The [modus operandi] on these guys is it’s a pretty quick act they’re doing,” said Det. Sgt. Elliott. “They seem to be rolling up in a car and one person jumps out and grabs it and they’re back in the car and down the street before anybody even notices.”
He said it happens in a matter of seconds. As for the elderly woman, she caught them on her security camera taking her projector worth around $75. She immediately gave the video to police.
“It looks like it’s a white male,” said Det. Sgt. Elliott. “Just from their body type and they way they move, they look like they’re males.”
He said because they acted at night, race recognition was hard to determine. However they did see that he was wearing a hoodie and blue jeans and jumped out of a light-colored or silver small SUV. It also appeared that he may have had a gun on him.
“So far we haven’t had any complaints of these people actually making contact with the homeowners,” said Det. Sgt. Elliott. “They’re merely grabbing the property and taking off with it.”
They’re also stealing packages too he said. Sometimes they’ll follow a delivery man and wait for the package to be dropped off on someone’s doorstep before they make their move. Sgt. Chris Rabbitt suggested homeowners either install security cameras to keep an eye on their packages or inform a neighbor.
“We’re very proactive on trying to get neighbors to open up your blinds and see who’s around your neighborhood,” said Sgt. Rabbitt of the Community Services and Crimes Prevention Unit. “Communicate with your neighbors.”
He also recommended getting a timer for the Christmas lights so they’re not on all night. The longer they’re on the more they become a target. However, if anyone should see this happening, he said it’s best to inform them first.
“Be a good witness and call us,” said Det. Sgt. Elliott. “That’s why they pay us to come out and deal with people especially if they’re armed. And having this information, I would stress that even more that if you see this occurring give us a call.”
Anyone with tips and information is asked to call the Silent Observer at (269) 964-3888