Would-be Grinch rethinks holiday heist

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A Christmas caper has come to a jolly conclusion as one of Charlie Walker's drumming toy soldiers was found returned to its original location in downtown Kilgore.

Walker, owner of Charlie's Sno-Balls and Seasonal Tanning, said one of a pair of Christmas toy soldiers he placed downtown suddenly disappeared after being on display for a week and a half, only to reappear just as suddenly.

“Yesterday, it mysteriously returned,” Walker said. “Saturday we were downtown doing the petting zoo and the movie marathon and the Geekend. Someone said they had last seen it at six o' clock. They were there for 11 days so we drove by and saw that one was missing.”

Walker quickly took action, posting a photo of the now-solitary soldier online.

“I stopped and took a picture and posted it on Facebook. It got a lot attention real fast and, it being one of the only two like it, I guess someone saw it in someone's vehicle or someone's yard,” Walker said, surmising the person who spotted the soldier convinced the statue-stealer to return their ill-gotten decoration.

Walker said he is unaware of the identity of the culprit and chalked up the theft to an unknown prankster. Fortunately, the toy soldier is mostly unharmed.

“It broke a little bit of it,” Walker said. “So I need to get back down there and glue him back to his frame and glue his head back on. He's not too worse for the wear. He's mostly in one piece, he's definitely fixable.”

Absconding with the soldier was no mean feat, as the soldier's feet were glued to a board which is kept secure underneath a decorated 55-gallon drum.

Unfazed by the holiday hi-jinks, Walker has no plans to stop placing his cheerful cadets around town during Christmastime.

“We're going to build some more for next year and put them in other parts of town that need to be a little bit more cheerful and need a little bit more joy,” he said.

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