Local News

YouTube-Chastened Thieves Give Back Grinch

Posted December 24, 2007
Updated December 25, 2007

— Video posted on YouTube helped convince two young males to return a stuffed Grinch they had stolen from a Southern Pines business.

Restaurant owner Warren Lewis said the 5-foot-tall Dr. Seuss character disappeared from outside Chef Warren's on Broad Street on Dec. 15. The Grinch, worth about $150, usually stands outside his restaurant beside a Christmas tree for the town Christmas parade, Lewis said.

"We had the Grinch stealing the tree, we had the little Cindy Loohoo and Max and the set up top," Lewis said.

Jeffrey Lomax, owner of Jewelsmith next door, checked the tape from his security cameras. It showed two teenagers or young men running off with the Grinch.

"There was always a seeing eye watching you," Lomax said. "My momma told me that."

Lewis and Lomax turned the tape into police – but not until after posting it on YouTube. By Christmas Eve, the video had been viewed more than 1,000 times.

The parents and a Sunday school teacher of the boys who took the Grinch were among those who saw the surveillance video on YouTube. The Sunday school teacher used the video as a cautionary tale in his last lesson.

"It was hilarious, because they were so busted," Lewis said.

The thieves returned the Grinch to Lewis on Wednesday and apologized face-to-face, he said. They also gave their apologies to Lomax.

Lewis said he did not recognize the young men and did not ask for their names. They had already learned their lesson, he said.

"He told me had been punished and grounded," Lewis said.


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  • dugmeister Dec 25, 2007

    These kids were doing the right thing. Every year we allow the Grinch to steal our Christmas? Isn't that how the story goes? "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". Well this time the tables were turned around and the Grinch got some good ol fashioned "payback"! How the Grinch was Stolen at Christmas".. eh.. a bit more clunky of a title, however.

  • FragmentFour Dec 25, 2007

    Lewis and Lomax turned the tape into police – but not after posting it on YouTube. By Christmas Eve, the video had been viewed more than 1,000 times.--WRAL

    They turned the tape into police BEFORE posting it on YouTube?
    Oh well... glad the Grinch got returned.

  • jon2four Dec 25, 2007

    I wonder, did they really learn a lesson,or did they just get caught ?

  • wbearp Dec 24, 2007

    This story is great in the fact that the two guys came forward and did the right thing. I guess there really is hope after all. The young men sure didn't do it out of fear of being caught by the S.P.P.D. They could care less about getting out and doing foot patrols in the business district or putting drug dealers in jail on the West side. The S.P.P.D.'s main concern is just about writing speeding tickets these days!

  • SilverWolf Dec 24, 2007

    Nice job Jeff, your cameras save the day once again. Merry Christmas.

  • theroadislong Dec 24, 2007

    Maybe there is a little bit of the old days left in today's society. It's nice to see that this situation ended the way it should.

  • Dil Dec 24, 2007

    Wow, just got to give a bit of credit where credit is due. They could have easily just dropped it back off in the middle of the night. I am impressed that they were man enough to acknowledge what they did face to face. Gives me a bit of hope this Christmas season.

  • Myword Dec 24, 2007

    YouTube knows when you are sleeping...YouTube knows when you're awake...

  • All child molesters should die Dec 24, 2007

    All's well that ends well.