Stolen inflatable Christmas reindeer returned to owner for massive reward

A giant inflatable reindeer was returned to a Houston family after being reported as stolen from their front yard earlier this week.

"[We’re] excited to have it back," said Ernest Fuhrman. "I got him up immediately."

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The incident occurred near Loop 610 and T.C. Jester Boulevard early Thursday morning. Surveillance video shows a woman unplug the 16-foot tall reindeer and drive off. Moments later, the woman comes back with a helper. The two stuff the reindeer into a pickup truck and drive away.

In our news report Thursday night, Fuhrman offered a $2,000 reward for anyone who located the reindeer and brought it back. Fuhrman says it’s not about the money, but instead finding his reindeer and possibly the thieves.

"They stole from neighborhood kids in all reality," said Fuhrman. "That’s essentially why we do it. Stealing Christmas, I mean we’re not going to allow them."

After a FOX 26 news report Thursday night, a couple called Fuhrman’s phone early Friday morning. Fuhrman says the couple didn’t want to speak with the media, but that they claimed to have purchased the giant reindeer Thursday.

"It was not the same people that were on surveillance," said Fuhrman. "They told me yesterday at noon or so that they bought him. I didn’t ask for how much. I didn’t ask exactly from who or anything like that."

Fuhrman says he knows the reindeer given back to him is the original one, because it includes tie-downs he made for the decoration himself.

According to Houston Police, these incidents aren’t rare. HPD officers receive hundreds of theft reports every day, including Christmas decorations taken from outside homes.

"Crooks are not thinking about the spirit of Christmas anymore," said HPD Officer Jesus Robles.  "They are going after everything."

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Robles says he’s happy the Fuhrmans received their decoration back. However, that’s not always the case. Houston police recommend putting decorations in areas with good lighting, further away from the street, and near surveillance cameras if possible. Also, if items can be tied down, that helps.

"On a situation like this, to get Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer back on your yard, it’s not very likely," said Robles.

Fuhrman and his young kids are thankful to have the decoration back. He plans to use the giant reindeer at an upcoming Christmas toy drive event to help kids in Houston.

We asked Fuhrman if there’s anything he’d like to tell the people who originally took his inflatable reindeer.

"Quite honestly, I hope they have a Merry Christmas," said Fuhrman. "I just want them to know not to come back to my property."