Real-life Grinches steal Christmas trees in River Oaks area

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- 'Twas the night before December, and just outside the Kroger, not much was stirring, unless you count Mary Williams Salvation Army bell.

However, on this Saturday afternoon, the lady filled with Christmas cheer, found herself jeering instead.

"I don't think it was funny, it was sad," she said.

That's because just a few feet away, there rose such a clatter...

Houston Police had to go check to see what was the matter.

Police say they saw two people helping themselves to the large Christmas trees in the lot. Epifanio Hernandez and Vivian Montemayor are accused of putting trees in their truck, then trying to make a quick getaway.

"It was crazy," said tree seller Henry Wooley. "We just didn't know what to do."

Fortunately, Houston Police officers were lively and quick.

The chase for the alleged thieves, finished in a flash.

"They went around the parking lot, came back, went around the parking lot, came back, eventually stopped and that's it," said Wooley. HPD says the chase only lasted a few minutes, and reached just 25 miles per hour.

Both Hernandez and Montemayor were arrested for theft, and booked in the Harris County jail. Records show both have faced multiple minor theft charges over the years.

Today, Williams was back ringing her bell at Kroger, in plain sight.

Wishing shoppers a happy Christmas to all and to all, a good night.

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