WICOMICO CO., Md. - From holiday lights to presents, trimmings and everything in between, consumers spend thousands of dollars to make the holidays bright.
The average person spent 854 dollars just in gifts last year. But thieves and vandals could take all of that away like a green grinch in the night.
"You set aside an amount to do this with, you probably expended that whole amount and now it's gone," said Sgt. David Owens of Wicomico Bureau of Investigation.
It's a sentiment John Schepleng Jr. says he agrees with. Every year, he is well-known in his neighborhood for decorating his lawn with Santa, his helpers and homemade lights as a way to spread the Christmas cheer.
"When I was a kid, some of the best Christmas memories were going to see the awesome displays around Baltimore," said Schepleng Jr.
Luckily, Schepleng says his lighted lawn display hasn't been tarnished. But he admits he spends quite a bit on decorations and electricity.
"To know that somebody would purposely to go out of their way to ruin that for somebody, I mean I can't think of anything worse that you can do," said Schepleng. "People do this to bring joy and happiness and somebody that steals or vandalizes, why would you want to do that?"
Owens tells WMDT to protect your home, it's a good idea to invest in light timers so they go on even if you're not at home. When it comes to your decorations Owens says "make sure they are little closer to the house and brighter. The brighter, the better. People are more afraid of light, afraid of being detected."
To prevent break-ins and stolen gifts Owens says don't leave gifts in plain sight, close your blinds and keep your doors locked.
"It's unfortunate that we have to think about the way we live anymore, but we do," Owens said.
If you want to remain anonymous, send us your tips here.