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Grinch arrested with stolen Christmas goods

One Martinez man is allegedly making it his goal to get on Santa’s naughty list this year.

During a probation search of his home on Thursday, 39-year-old Jason Crites was arrested — for the second time since March — on suspicion of possessing stolen Christmas decorations belonging to a local charity.

Just a day earlier, the Contra Costa County sheriff received a burglary call at around 8 p.m. to a storage unit on the 1800 block of Shell Avenue.

The unit belongs to Christmas for Everyone, a Martinez-based charity that raises funds and gifts for the needy and elderly every holiday season.

According to charity officials, approximately $20,000 worth of Christmas decorations were missing.

At Crites’ home the following day, police say they found several boxes of property belonging to the charity. Crites was arrested and is currently being held at Martinez’ County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

This isn’t Crites’ first burglary arrest, nor is it his first encounter with Christmas for Everyone.

In early March, he was arrested in connection with burglary and felony vandalism at the very same storage unit.

According to the charity, thieves took approximately $60,000 worth of property during the February burglary, including toys and winters coats. Mary Perez, the organization’s director, told Bay City News:

“They took everything — pots and pans, tables and chairs, our presents, everything we use to do our program with. Twenty-eight years of accumulation is gone.”

Perez later spotted some of the stolen goods at a North Concord flea market, and police were able to track the items back to Crites’ mother’s home in Martinez, where the parolee was staying.

Perez said the charity planned to relocate to another storage building:

“We can’t stay in this place, it’s too unsafe.”

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