Genuine Grinch Tries to Spoil Christmas; DCTC and Others Come to Rescue

Car theft in Anoka robs needy kids of donated toys

Early Tuesday morning, David Grupa, a portrait photographer from Maplewood, started his SUV to warm the engine and then went back inside to let out his dog. On returning a minute or so later, he found his vehicle gone along with 20 garbage bags of donated toys destined for the L.C. Webster Elementary School in North St. Paul.

The bags contained at least half of all the toys collected by North St. Paul businesses to give to children who would otherwise go without this Christmas. Police later recovered Grupa’s SUV, but all the toys were missing.

Ironically, Grupa displays a large likeness of the Grinch, the notorious Dr. Seuss character, as a holiday decoration in his front yard. He experienced a terrible sinking feeling when he first realized the toys had been stolen, but has since been elated by what he called “tons and tons” of community support.

“The outpouring of generosity has been amazing,” he said. “Louie Anderson has offered to cover the cost of the stolen toys. Hill-Murray High School has offered to donate toys raised by their own drive. The theft has turned out to be a cloud with a silver lining.”

Grupa also relayed a message from St. Paul police cautioning motorists to refrain from leaving their vehicles unattended with the keys in the ignition. Car thieves exploit winter conditions, looking for vehicles that are warming up with no driver behind the wheel.

Hearing the call to play Santa to a real-life Grinch, staff and faculty at Dakota County Technical College have donated to the North St. Paul Area Holiday Drive, a charitable event that started in 1999.