Southern California

Halloween Lights Stolen from Popular Riverside House Returned

The Halloween display lights that were stolen from the lawn of a Riverside home Thursday night were returned to its owners Friday.

Melanie Betty, the owner and host of the Riverside Halloween House Light Show, said an employee from the park across the street gave her a backpack that contained all of the stolen floodlights before 5 p.m., just a few hours before their next scheduled light show.

"We couldn't be happier to have them back," Betty said.

The thief, caught on surveillance video, is seen unplugging the lights from the house's yard around 11 p.m. Thursday. He then runs down Deercreek Drive and hops into a getaway truck driven by an accomplice.

"It's really disheartening that somebody would do that, especially when the show has brought so much joy to the community," Betty said.

The suspect, who was wearing thick-framed glasses and a hoodie with a logo, stole a total of four floodlights, which are a big part of the show.

"It illuminates not only the areas that are on the yard, it illuminates the house as well," said Amber Judd, who owns the stolen lights.

The floodlights are brand-new and state of the art, Judd said, and cost around $200 to $250.

But Betty and Judd said it's not the money that matters — it's about stealing from a display that means so much to the people who see it, especially children. Hundreds of people on the light show's Facebook page voiced their frustrations over the theft.

"It feels like they've been violated, too, because this is a tradition they look forward to," Judd said.

The final light show will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

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