Marie Bennett, 40, and Joseph Betancourt, 24, of Woodland, Calif., would have made the Grinch proud, but police in Red Bluff weren't having it. On Dec. 5, the two allegedly broke into the Children First Foster Family Agency, where they stole "a large amount of toys that were being held there for children for Christmas presents," police told Fox News. Surveillance video showed the burglars coming and going from the home next door; officers arrested Bennett and Betancourt for burglary, theft and breaking and entering, and they recovered the stolen toys, declaring, "These 'Grinches' will not be stealing Christmas from kids on our watch."
• The Bosch's Country View Nursery in Allendale, Mich., is a longtime favorite destination for Christmas tree shoppers. But sometime in early December, the Grinch visited, lopping the top halves off more than a dozen trees, according to WZZM13. It takes a fir tree between six and 10 years to grow to Christmas tree height, explained owner Brian Bosch. "Somebody had a bad day, I'm assuming," he said. "I don't know why somebody would do that." Bosch did say that the trees might recover, although it would take a few years.
The Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reported on Dec. 9 that a 14-year-old runaway made a logical choice when deciding where to hide. Around 8:30 that morning, as workers at Bed Bath & Beyond opened the store in Greenville, they discovered someone hidden in the store and called police. Officers responded for a "breaking and entering in progress," but found only a teenage boy who had "camped out" in the store overnight. He was returned to his home.
In Miami Beach, you don't even have to leave the oceanfront to get caught in a traffic nightmare. For Miami's Art Basel, Argentine artist Leandro Erlich unveiled on Dec. 3 a masterpiece three months in the making: sand sculptures of 66 actual-size cars and trucks locked in a traffic jam, which he calls "Order of Importance." His artwork is meant to bring attention to the climate crisis, Dezeen magazine reported. The work includes several lanes of traffic. Most of the vehicles are partly submerged in a nod to rising sea levels created by global warming. "As an artist, I am in a constant struggle to make people aware of this reality," Erlich said.
In Turlock, Calif., mothers became alarmed when a man turned up at their doors, asking for "five strands" of hair and fingerprints from their children in order to collect their DNA. "He said he was with Amber Alert," Lauren Hassett told KTXL on Dec. 4, and "that he needed to finish a DNA file" on her daughter. She also said the man asked for her daughter using a name the 13-year-old girl only uses online. Hassett ordered the man off her property and called police, who were later able to catch up with him. Officers said the man's business was legitimate, but "the manner in which the information was relayed led to some misunderstanding. ... The involved adult male was passing out child DNA kits, which would be retained by the family, in the event it was ever needed for future investigations."
• Operation Santa's Naughty List took place Dec. 3-8 in Polk County, Fla., seeking to target human trafficking and prostitution, and it was beyond successful. The sting stung 124 people, including 46 customers and numerous others for different crimes, but the standout was Rodney Davis, a 56-year-old husband and security guard at Disney World, the Tampa Bay Times reported. When Davis showed up to purchase sex from an undercover detective, he was wearing ... nothing. Not even socks. Prostitutes who were identified as victims of human trafficking were taken to shelters and offered support services.
News of the Weird is compiled by the editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication. Send your weird news items to WeirdNewsTips@amuniversal.com.