Family says they bought their stolen Christmas decorations back

- Another Pinellas County family had their Christmas decorations swiped by a Grinch. 

Clearwater Police are investigating to find out if the same person is responsible for both thefts.

Melissa Fernandez realized that two of her inflatable decorations, a 9-foot Olaf snowman and a Christmas-themed dog, were missing from her yard on Bayshore Boulevard in Clearwater last Saturday.

"We pretty much chalked it up to being a loss, but then we saw another story about another family not too far from us that had lost theirs too," said Fernandez.

FOX 13 spoke to Cindy Meyers last week. Three of Meyers' inflatable decorations were stolen from her yard the same night, just a few miles from the home of Fernandez.

Pinellas County deputies arrested Michael Fitzjarrell, 30, after a good Samaritan spotted Meyers' decorations in his yard. He admitted to taking the decorations, saying he was "drunk" and made a "bad choice."

A deputy returned Meyers' decorations to her home.

It inspired Fernandez to start searching online for her own missing property. She found the same inflatable on the Offer Up App being sold through a consignment store in Tampa.

The seller claimed there was no way the item could belong to Fernandez when she stopped by the store to see it.

"He said that they bought it at a private estate sale, they've had it for months in storage and they just brought it out. I was like, 'OK well, can we buy it?' They said, 'Sure. We can give it to you for $70.'"

Fernandez reluctantly purchased the inflatable dog. She soon realized the same strings she used from her home to tie it down were still attached to the dog.

After reaching out to Cindy Meyers, Fernandez also learned that a stake she used to secure her inflatables in her yard, was accidentally dropped off at Meyers' home in the same box deputies used to bring back her stolen inflatables from Fitzjarrell's yard.

Clearwater Police said they are investigating to learn if Fitzjarrell could be responsible for both thefts.

Authorities recommend residents write their names on each of their decorations as a precaution, in order to prove it is their property if the decorations are ever stolen.
 

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