Stolen decorations installed, lit at house

December 24, 2010|Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun

Joseph Vogel of Parkville had never seen this angel before, nor the blow-up Santa, the reindeer, the baby Jesus. But when he woke up Thursday morning and looked out front of his two-story house, there they were, along with a string of snowflakes, lights, a wreath and Christmas packages.

All the Christmas decorations were stolen from elsewhere, and placed on his lawn in the 2400 block of Autumn View Way with great care in the dead of night.

"Whoever did this went through an elaborate effort to decorate somebody's lawn," said Vogel, who had a furlough day Thursday from his job in procurement at the University of Maryland, College Park. He said the culprits strung extension cords from various outlets outside the house to light the display: "they plugged them in, ran one after the other. They took some time."

And did it all very quietly.

Vogel said he and his wife and two children went to bed around midnight, when their house was decorated more modestly for the holiday with white lights on the bushes out front, a three-foot snowman on the lawn and a wreath on the door. Sometime between then and about 7:30 when he looked out, the thieves did their work.

No one heard a sound, not even the family dog, Duncan, a West Highland Terrirer, who slept through the whole thing.

"We had a talk the next morning," said Vogel.

It was impressive, but Vogel said he immediately called the police, who showed up quickly with four patrol cars.

"They couldn't believe it, either," said Vogel. "They were shaking their heads, too."

Soon they got to work, though, dismantling the display and hauling it off.

"The angel was so big they had it hanging out of the trunk," Vogel said.

Officer Eric Savage of the Baltimore County Police Parkville station said the police would be pursuing the culprits once they start getting reports of stolen decorations.

"I feel sorry for whose-ever houses they stole this stuff from," Vogel said. "It's kind of comical for me to come out and see this, but these were stolen."

He said he was expecting a house full of company for Christmas Day, and he imagines the episode "will probably be one of the big topics we'll be talking about…Crazy, huh?"

Note: An earlier version misidentified Vogel's first name.

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