ST. LOUIS COUNTY – One family in Missouri claims a beloved holiday decoration has been stolen from their front yard. A few weeks before Christmas, Daniel Luna and Victoria Baumgartner said their 2-year-old daughter’s beloved Santa Claus decoration is gone.
"Like the Grinch who stole Christmas," said Luna.
But, not quite. More like the Grinch who maybe stole Santa Claus.
"It's sad,” Luna said. “It's sad."
Luna's 2-year-old daughter loved to help dad turn on the 8-foot inflatable Santa Claus every morning. But on Thursday, when he came outside to light up his daughter's day, he couldn’t believe what he didn't see.
"I look again and you know it was gone," said Luna.
The family’s beloved Santa Claus, missing from the front yard. They believe it was stolen, based on the evidence left behind.
"It was attached to the tree,” said Luna. “You had to cut the string and pull the stakes out. It's useless now."
Now, this father is left to explain to his young daughter why this Santa is no longer in town.
"Try to find a nice way to say what really happened covering up for the bad guy," he said.
"[Santa] was something she looked forward to every single day,” Baumgartner said. “We'd come home and say are you ready to watch Santa Clause and then she'd say ‘yeah Santa, Santa’."
The couple said it's heartbreaking their daughter doesn't have that to look forward to anymore. But what's frustrating? This isn't the first time something went missing. Their mail kept getting snatched out of their mailbox.
"Do not ever steal from my mailbox again trust me you will regret it,” a sign Baumgertner is reading now taped to her mailbox. "This is the last warning."
She said it’s “annoying” for something like this to happen again.
"You try to be friendly with everybody and people just constantly steal from you and bring you down," she said.
With Santa gone form the yard, Luna says some joy is gone from his daughter’s holiday season.
“It's just a senseless act," he said.
The family has other holiday decorations in their yard -- nothing else disappeared. Luna tells 5 On Your Side he's heard of other Christmas decorations gone missing in South County this season.