Real-life Grinch steals Christmas gifts during home burglary

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A real-life Grinch steals Christmas gifts right from under the tree at one south Richmond home.

It happened during the day Monday on Melbourne Drive just off Forest Hill Avenue. A detective was assigned the case today.

The gifts are still missing along with some electronics and family heirlooms. The burglar actually opened up the presents and picked out what they wanted! The homeowner said his 5-year-old son is worried it'll happen again.

A Christmas memory, the Caterino family would rather do without! A real-life Grinch, or two, rummaged through their gifts and their house.

"It all can be replaced. It's just the trauma the kids had to endure and my wife losing some valuable heirlooms," said Joe Caterino.

Caterino returned home with his 5-year-old son to let their dogs out and grab lunch.

When Caterino first walked in the house he noticed his son's bedroom door wide open which is unusual for him then he saw shattered glass.

"They had busted out the frame and busted through the window," said Caterino.

Caterino's first instinct was to take inventory.

"That's when I noticed the televisions were gone and went in our bedroom and noticed the jewelry box was tipped over," said Caterino.

All their Christmas gifts were torn open. A doll, tennis shoes and other unwanted presents left behind.

"You can see they didn't take the sleeping bag. No one's interested in that," said Caterino.

He said they stole a Nintendo game console meant for his little girl and a video game for his brother. He warned his neighbors.

"It's sort of scary because we always had such a safe neighborhood around here," said Don Price.

Price wasn't going to take a chance with the Grinch paying him a visit too.

"I did put some of the Christmas presents away, but besides that, I'm just becoming more vigilant," said Price.

Caterino tried calming his son's fears and explaining why their house.

"I told him that given the economy a lot of people don't have money and this is their way of getting gifts for their family. And he says to me, 'You know daddy, they should work like you do,'" said Caterino.

Caterino had a security company over at the house today to install an alarm.

If you can help solve this case, call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

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