MAXWELL, Iowa - Apparently, the Grinch from Dr. Seuss' storybook isn't a work of fiction.
"Definitely, those people are the Grinch that stole Christmas, because that's how you feel," said Barb Krebs of Maxwell. "You just lost your Christmas, you know?"
Krebs wants people in Story County to be aware - someone is stealing Christmas decorations.
"Usually, we don't have too many things that go wrong here," she said. "But sometime between 10 p.m. Sunday and 4 a.m. Monday morning, someone stole all of my laser lights out of my yard - and my projector."
Normally, she had her friends help string up lights on her home in Maxwell. But Krebs wanted to do something simpler this year.
"So we decided not to have people climbing on the roof this year, so we saved up for the laser lights," she said. "So, probably a couple hundred dollars."
She says the kids up and down her street loved her light display.
"All I could do was cry, you know? And I know crying over Christmas lights is silly, but you know you save up, and it's that time of the year that it brings yourself happiness to decorate, but you know, it makes you happy when your neighbor's kids say that - or your neighbors tell you that their kids like looking at your yard, because they like the different things," she said.
Krebs is now afraid to inflate her blow-up decorations, or even keep her tree inside on, in case the thieves are close. But after reporting the crime to the Story County Sheriff's Office, she learned it goes beyond her town.
"From Collins, Colo, Cambridge, and I know Nevada - one of my daughter's friends, her mom, got their stuff taken out of her yard, too," she said.
"In the entire Story County area, where the Story County Sheriff's Office patrols, we've had five reports of various Christmas decorations that either have been stolen or vandalized since Thanksgiving," said Captain Barry Thomas, with the Story County Sheriff's Office.
Police say Christmas decor thefts in Story County are actually lower, compared to last year.
"Easy access to the decorations is something that also makes them fairly attractive; I think the fact that people put these a ways away from their house, so that they'll illuminate on their house, I think makes it easier for thieves to just quickly grab and go," Capt. Thomas said.
So they recommend you keep your Christmas cheer close, to make it harder for Grinches to get their hands on it.
"People are just rude," Krebs said.
But despite her sorrow, Krebs does get to enjoy the last laugh.
"The one projector that they took only works with a remote, it doesn't have an on-off button, so they kind of messed up on that one, because I have the remote," she said. "So, they're out of luck on that one."
There's at least a little comfort in knowing some of her misfortune is shared with the thieves who caused it.