Thief steals donations used for Christmas lights

Posted at 5:20 PM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 20:36:43-05

A Clearwater man hoping to spread a little Christmas cheer wants to find the Grinch who tried to turn out the lights.

“Well, Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. Always had Christmas parties. I just started getting more and more, and it just grew,” said Bob Owens.

Owens lives for Christmas.

“It’s gets everybody in the spirit. I get a couple thousand people go through here every year to see this thing,” said Owens.

Bob’s dazzling display on Old Coachman Road is Florida-themed with more than 200,000 lights.

He spends up to $7,000 each year to make it all possible.

That’s why he puts three donation buckets out in the yard, so if anyone wants to help out, they can throw in a couple bucks.

“It’s never been a problem until this year,” he said.

Yes, this year, on four different nights, someone broke into Bob’s buckets and snatched the cash.

“What kind of person does something like that?” he asked. “Lowlife. I don’t want to say too many words,” he said.

Bob uses those donations to offset the cost of some of his electric bill, which jumps from $125 to $1500 in the month of December.

“It’s really disgusting because I do this more like a community service, and I do it because I like it, and I’m just trying to recoup some of my cost,” he said.

Deputies took some finger prints, but so far no leads on the thief, who also took a pair of sunglasses from a polar bear display.

But he says this doesn't make him think twice about doing the display in the future. 

“No I’ll still do it. I’ll just be better prepared,” he said.

The Christmas display is at the intersection of North Old Coachman road and South Lagoon Circle.