PHOENIX — What started as a new holiday tradition for Carissa Wheeler and her family quickly took a sharp turn.
"I heard them right away and I looked out the window, banged on it," Wheeler said. "They saw me. I couldn’t get down here fast enough to get a license plate or anything."
But she did catch the act on camera. Her doorbell camera showed two people run to her yard in Chandler, stab her inflatable Santa and snowman and run off.
"They had only been up two nights," she says. "And my 6-year-old daughter was pretty upset."
Wheeler filed a police report but hasn't heard if anyone has been caught. And she's not the only one who's had some of her holiday spirit deflated.
Over in South Phoenix, Joe Hernandez is setting up some decorative defense.
"I connected all the connectors together, so if somebody is trying to steal something from here, with all the duct tape, it will take them a long time."
He said three of his smaller decorations have already been stolen and he doesn't want to lose anything else.
"I took a lot of time and effort to put decorations together for my family and my friends and my neighborhood. They just took that from us."
Unlike the other case in Chandler, his crooks weren't caught on camera and he hasn't filed a police report. He just hopes he's doing enough.
"Let people know that when they’re walking by, we got eyes on you now."
The National Neighborhood Watch has some tips for keeping the grinches away from your holiday display:
- Shut down at night
- Set up surveillance
- Crime-proof your yard
- Consider bringing in valuable items at night
- Stay connected
- Report, report, report
They also have some tips to prevent porch pirates from stealing your packages:
- Network with neighbors
- Have packages delivered to work
- Leave specific drop-off instructions
- Use a smart lock
- Install security cameras