In just a week, the busiest shopping day of the year will be here, but that also means burglars will be busy preying on shoppers and their vehicles.

At the Forum shopping center, security is always a top priority, but when Christmas approaches there s always a grinch. In this case, crooks looking to break into vehicles.

The crime normally accelerates from Thanksgiving on until the first of the year, said Live Oak assistant police chief Dan Pue.

Resident Stephanie Dove knows firsthand what it s like to have Christmas gifts stolen from her car.

They just busted out the side window, got in, left the purse, but just took everything inside, she said.

Once they see their target, they can be in and out in a minute, said Sgt. Shane Rominger of the Selma Police Department.

To prevent that nightmare from happening to other shoppers, the Live Oak, Selma and Universal City police departments are teaming up with the Forum to execute Operation Grinch.

We re going to steal Christmas back from the grinch, Pue said.

That means beginning next week, the three departments will be in full force -- not just in marked cars, but undercover, as well.

Anything suspicious we check, and even if it ends up being nothing, our presence out here may deter something we may not have seen, Rominger said.

I think it s a good thing -- absolutely, absolutely, Dove said.

The operation kicks off next week and lasts until the first of the year.
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