A little Mississippi boy was so worried that the Grinch was coming to steal his Christmas, he dialed 9-1-1.
“I just want to tell you something,” 5-year-old TyLon Pittman told the dispatcher Saturday after watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
“Watch for that little Grinch,” TyLon said. His dad got on the phone a little later and said, “Ma’am, I’m sorry, this is my son playing on the phone.”
When Byram, Miss., police officer Lauren Develle heard about the call, she wanted to reach out to the little guy and let him know that he had nothing to worry about. Christmas was safe.
“Our dispatcher posted a status on Facebook that she had received a call from a little boy … and he told her he thought the Grinch was going to be coming to steal his Christmas,” she said. “I asked her to send me his address.”
Develle, who reportedly grew up loving How the Grinch Stole Christmas, decided to pay the family a visit Saturday night.
“I kind of find it really funny. … Every Christmas morning my dad wears these Grinch pants,” she told reporters on Sunday. “It’s his favorite movie. Growing up seeing the Grinch every Christmas was my favorite thing.”
“The Grinch is not going to come steal your Christmas. I won’t let that happen,” Develle told TyLon.
The boy told Develle that he had seen the video on Facebook and that he likes to watch all the videos about the Grinch.
“So what are you going to do if he tries to steal your Christmas?” Develle asked TyLon.
“I want y’all to come back to my house and take him to jail,” TyLon replied.
Develle let Tylon know that the Byram Police Department would not let him down.
TyLon’s mother, TeResa Pittman, was skeptical. “You thought the Grinch was going to steal your Christmas, for real?” she asked her son.
The boy nodded solemnly. “He steals everybody’s Christmas.”
TyLon explained what he would do if he ran across the miscreant himself.
“I’m going to say put your hands behind your back and get down on the ground, then when he gets on the ground, I’m gonna say, ‘Why are you stealing Christmas?'” he said.
On Monday, the Byram Police Dept. let TyLon have a chance to question his archnemesis.
The Grinch was apprehended and escorted into a holding cell by officer Develle and honorary junior officer TyLon, wearing his newly acquired Byram Police Department baseball cap.
The Grinch could be charged with various crimes, including attempted theft of Christmas, Develle said. It wasn’t as much about charging him for his wrongdoing as keeping a promise to her new friend.
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“I asked (TyLon) if he saw the Grinch, what would he do, and he said he’d call us and get us to come take him to jail. So I ended up looking around and I found him,” Develle said.
The Grinch, still wearing his Santa outfit, did not put up a fight as he was escorted into the holding cell.
“Come here, Ty,” the Grinch said. Taking the boy’s hand in a handshake, he said: “You have saved Christmas for the people of Byram. Your bravery is unmatched. You have saved the day.”
“Why are you stealing Christmas?” TyLon asked him with an unwavering gaze.
After a moment of thought, the Grinch just shrugged his shoulders.
Byram Police Chief Luke Thompson presented TyLon with a Grinch doll so he could always remember the occasion. Like Develle, Thompson also made a promise to Ty, who wants to be a cop when he grows up.
“When you turn 21, come back and I’m going to give you a job application, OK?” he said.
TyLon’s brother, TeDera Dwayne Graves, is in the Air Force and was home for the holidays for the first time in four years when he caught the interaction on video. He posted the videos on Facebook.
“I can NOT make this up!!!” he posted. “My 5-year-old brother called the police and said that the Grinch is stealing people’s Christmas and he don’t want him to steal his, so they really came to our house!”
“For them to go this far and have this happen, when he wants to be a police officer, it means a lot,” said Graves. “And it just shows that there are some really good people out there.”
“Let’s have a little joy this year,” Thompson said. “And this has certainly brought a lot of people joy.”