- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2002

A local Scrooge has issued an early "humbug" by pilfering Ivy the reindeer from the Tysons Corner Center.
It's not the work of the average Christmas hater, considering that Ivy weighs a couple hundred pounds, wears Santa's red-and-white hat and coat and stands 19 feet long and 12 feet high when fully inflated.
A balloon fit for a parade, Ivy graced the top of the shopping center's marquee at its Route 7 entrance. Police and mall officials say someone must have stolen it and the huge fan that keeps it inflated early Monday.
"Somebody had to have seen something," said Officer Jacqi Smith, a Fairfax County police spokeswoman. "Maybe they saw someone up there and thought it was maintenance and they thought it was normal. We are trying to determine if there were any witnesses."
Someone also tried to steal Irving, Ivy's twin, who reclines atop the marquee of the mall's Route 123 entrance, said mall spokeswoman Kristina Kromulis. The ropes holding Irving on his perch had been cut.
Irving and Ivy are valued at $15,000 each.
Officials did not speculate on why anyone would take the gigantic balloon.
The custom-made, nylon reindeer were put up about a week ago, the third year they decorated the shopping center's entrances, Ms. Kromulis said.
"Someone who drives by it every day and is used to seeing it will notice it's gone," she said. "It's a pretty big reindeer. It's definitely going to be missed. We hope someone will return it."
Mall officials would like whoever took Ivy to return the reindeer to the shopping center's grounds with no charges filed and no questions asked, Ms. Kromulis said.
Officer Smith said the reindeer thief will face grand larceny charges if caught during the police investigation.
"If we find the reindeer in someone's possession, we're going to press charges," Officer Smith said. "If they get caught red-handed, they're going to be prosecuted."
The mall's chief engineer first noticed Ivy was missing as he arrived for work at 5:15 a.m. Monday, mall officials said.
He noticed that the marquee was not illuminated, then saw that the reindeer was gone, Ms. Kromulis said.
She said the thief or thieves probably deflated, folded and stashed the reindeer in a getaway car.
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call Fairfax County Crime Solvers at 703/691-8888 or Tysons Corner Center security at 703/893-9403.


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