Video: Toy Soldier ‘marches’ off Morristown Green; police hunting Grinchy kidnapper

YOU'RE A MEAN ONE, MR. GRINCH: Kidnapper absconds with Toy Soldier from Christmas Festival at the Morristown Green. A new security camera captured footage of the captured sentry.
YOU'RE A MEAN ONE, MR. GRINCH: Kidnapper absconds with Toy Soldier from Christmas Festival at the Morristown Green. A new security camera captured footage of the captured sentry.
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A six-foot-tall Toy Soldier has been kidnapped from the annual Christmas Festival at the Morristown Green.

“We have a real-life Grinch in Morristown,” Mayor Tim Dougherty said on Thursday.

This Grinch is wearing a flannel shirt instead of a Santa suit, according to video captured on Dec. 9, 2018, by a brand-new security camera installed by the Trustees of the Morristown Green:

Video: Bah Humbug! Bad guy kidnaps Toy Soldier after rest of brigade dozes off:

“It has come in very handy. I’m delighted it’s there,” said Alice Cutler, president of the Trustees. She called the theft “sad.”

“I’m hoping it’s just a prank and (the Soldier) will be returned in the night,” she said.

Video shows a Caucasian male, possibly in his late 20s or early 30s, tossing a cigarette and then absconding with the statue. The suspect’s flannel shirt was a dark color; he also wore blue jeans and a black Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap.

The footage indicates the incident occurred at 1 am, after the statue’s fellow Toy sentries evidently had dozed off. No word yet on whether they will face disciplinary action from their Toy superiors.

SHAME ON YOU: Thief, captured on video, prepares to abduct Toy Soldier from the Morristown Green.
SHAME ON YOU: Kidnapper, captured on video, prepares to abduct Toy Soldier from the Morristown Green.
Posing with a toy soldier, after Santa's arrival on the Morristown Green, Nov. 25, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
HAPPIER TIMES: Child poses with Toy Soldier, after Santa’s arrival on the Morristown Green, Nov. 25, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

These Toy Soldiers were new additions to the Yule festival, said Jennifer Wehring, executive director of the Morristown Partnership, which has organized the event since 2002.

“I’m not worried,” Wehring said, expressing confidence police will nab the perpetrator and rescue his fiberglass captive.

The festival’s Santa House and other holiday decorations never have experienced any mischief, Wehring said. Other times of year have not been so kind to the historic square, where Gen. George Washington once commanded flesh-and-blood troops.

MON DIEU! Washington's letter from Louis XIV is missing--and so is his thumb. October 2016 photo by Kevin Coughlin
MON DIEU! Washington’s letter from Louis XIV is missing–and so is his thumb. October 2016 photo by Kevin Coughlin

In 2016, someone chipped Washington’s bronzed thumb from his statue. A sign commemorating the former location of Arnold’s Tavern, a Revolutionary War gathering place familiar to the general, disappeared last fall.

In the spring, graffiti was sprayed on the Patriot’s Farewell Fountain. (Alas, the bronzed Patriot atop the fountain did not report the Toy Soldier kidnapping, either.)

Vandals also have dumped soap and motor oil into the fountain, causing about $3,500 in damage, according to the volunteer who maintains the landmark.

All of this prompted the Trustees to install a $12,000 surveillance system last month.

If you spy a man-sized Toy Soldier guarding someone’s Christmas tree, the mayor urges you to call Morristown police at (973) 538-2200 or contact Captain Michael Buckley at (973) 292-6631.

Otherwise, authorities may have to call in the Toy National Guard:

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