Local News

YouTube-Chastened Thieves Give Back Grinch

Posted December 24, 2007 11:43 a.m. EST
Updated December 25, 2007 4:31 p.m. EST

— 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.