MUSCOY - Jerks.
Thieves on Christmas Eve stole three decorative reindeer from the front yard of a First Avenue woman who has battled cancer and put out the displays as a final remembrance of a departed relative who cherished the holiday.
"I've been in constant pain and it was very hard for me to put everything up this year," said Charlene Gibbs, 71, crying. "If they had knocked on the door and asked for them, I would've given them to them. But this is heartbreaking.
Her husband, John Gibbs, 75, noticed the reindeer, which light up and move, were missing from the front yard after he made a Monday morning trip to KMart for a new sweater.
It was to replace one he got for Christmas 11 years ago.
"We don't have a lot of money," he said. "We won't replace (the reindeer)."
The couple fears that the thieves may come back. John Gibbs was busy Monday placing an alarm on the Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus decorations.
"It's a shame you just can't have anything," he said.
The couple's living room is filled with a Christmas village and a singing Santa Claus that stands about four feet tall.
Charlene Gibbs' sister, Clarice Angel, painted the colorful houses that dot the Christmas village. She died of cancer in August. She was 74 and the oldest of the sisters in the family, which included six girls and one boy.
Charlene Gibbs has battled cancer and had back surgery.
"I wasn't going to (decorate) this year, but when she passed away I decided to do it one more time," she said.
She and John Gibbs have lived in the house on the 2200 block of First Avenue since 1969. They've been decorating big time for Christmas since 1987.
The couple started decorating this year in October. John Gibbs said it took him two days to install the outside ornaments. The reindeer and several large Christmas light bulbs lined the yard.
They said the stolen reindeer cost about $25 each when they were bought 10 years ago.
Decorating this year was also a way for them to honor Tinkerbell, their 11-year-old terrier-poodle mix who recently died. The dog loved Christmas decorations, they said.
The couple didn't contact authorities over the theft. They said it's pointless. Authorities would probably just take a report and nothing would come of it, they said.
Wiping away tears, Charlene Gibbs said they just want the reindeer back, no questions asked. And if the thieves want them so bad, they can come by and pick them up after the holidays.
"She's not going to make it another year," John Gibbs said. "This is probably her last Christmas."
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