Rotorua has a Christmas Grinch who has pilfered lights and ornaments from a home set up for the Christmas Lights Trail.
Kerry Herbert fluctuates between disbelief and disgust when describing the $300 worth of decorations taken from the Clyde St home he shares with partner Kathrine Bullock on Tuesday night, right before the trail judges' visit.
"You have to wonder about some people," Herbert said. "Why they feel the need to go and destroy something that has been created to give the community joy is beyond me."
Herbert estimates he and Bullock have spent more than $2000 since deciding to take part in the annual event.
"We decided to enter last year after seeing the entries the year before and thinking the quality wasn't that great."
He said the $2000 didn't include the hundreds of man hours involved.
"As well as two solid weekends setting things up, Kathrine makes a lot of the ornaments herself and, because only half of our section is fenced, we're outside at 11pm bringing half the display inside."
Herbert said a neighbour had seen someone running down the street with an armful of decorations on Wednesday morning and had given chase.
"She caught the person and got the decorations back. Worst part is, of the armload he had only one thing was ours.
"So he'd been to at least one other address and another person had taken other things from us."
He said he was gutted he had to run around and replace the stolen items before the judges came to his home.
"It's just crap. Why anyone feels the need to do this is beyond me.
"We've met some awesome people through the trail but we won't be doing it next year. This theft has put a dampener on the whole thing."
Professionals McDowell principal Steve Lovegrove said the firm had been running the Christmas Lights Trail for 19 years and he was continually amazed by the incredible effort put in by Rotorua residents who took part.
"Personally I've taken so many calls from local residents telling me they were really excited about the trail and how they couldn't wait to get out and see the homes," he said.
"Something like this theft is, as often the case, an individual ruining things for the masses."
Lovegrove said he had absolute faith the Rotorua community would rally round the decorated homes and keep an eye on things.
"This isn't stealing from an individual, this is stealing from the community. And I would expect the community will look after their neighbours."
Rotorua police crime prevention manager Inspector Brendon Keenan said the theft of decorations had not been brought to the attention of police.
"We are often dealing with thefts from doorways and people's front lawns but I'm not aware of any complaint about Christmas lights."