UPDATE: With support from the community, Julia was able to buy a new unicorn.
That’s not all the community is doing to help bring back some holiday cheer. Neighbors throughout Hampton Roads are expected to stop by this weekend to bring other new decorations.
In a new video, Julia thanks everyone who helped bring back some joy this Christmas.
PORTSMOUTH, Va. – A video of 9-year-old Julia Chappell is breaking hearts throughout the community. In the cell phone video, she says her favorite Christmas decoration, an inflatable unicorn she bought two years ago has been stolen.
“Some evil, I mean evil woman or man stole my unicorn that I paid for with my own money,” Julia Chappell said in the video.
The cell phone video was posted on the Nextdoor app over the weekend. One person’s comment read, “The Grinch has broken a little one’s heart already. It’s really a shame.”
Julia’s mother Shiquera Chappell said her daughter was extremely hurt and sad. “She definitely loves her unicorn because she spent her own money on it,” said Shiquera Chappell.
Shiquera Chappell said a big reindeer decoration was also stolen from their lawn in their Prentis Park neighborhood of Portsmouth.
“We put the stakes in the ground so it wouldn’t blow away and it still got away,” she laughed.
News 3 asked her little girl how she felt. “Mad. Very mad,” said Julia Chappell with a chuckle.
Another reindeer was not taken because it was zip tied to the porch. “We weren’t thinking about real life Grinches,” Shiquera Chappell laughed.
The two big decorations were apparently snatched up by someone less than 24 hours after they put them out on Sunday.
Photos from the home’s ring camera captured the time stamp. It shows the Christmas decorations were there when Julia left for school in the morning and by the afternoon they were gone.
Chappell said the brazen thief was careful to stay out of the camera’s frame adding it happened in broad daylight when she was home.
“I feel violated because it’s so close to your front door,” she said. “People really come to your property and just take things that don’t belong to them and they can clearly see it was a child’s decoration. So, it’s sad. It really is.”
Chappell posted the video on Nextdoor showing her daughter’s shock and hurt and to warn her neighbors about a Christmas Grinch. Soon after it was posted, she said two women donated money so Julia can buy a new unicorn.
One neighbor gave $100 with a comment that said, “Keep your pleasant spirit and positive attitude.”
The video garnered dozens of comments and likes in a short amount of time. “I didn’t think it would get as much love as it did,” Chappell said. “It got a lot of attention.”
Grinch or not, one little girl’s hope in the Christmas spirit is slowly returning.
“Buy another unicorn,” said Julia Chappell.
Her mother added, “We’ll do our best. Hopefully we can find one.”
Julia is hoping to have left over money. “Maybe $1 so I can buy more candy,” she said with a smile.
This incident wasn’t the first time the family has had things stolen from their lawn. Since moving to the neighborhood eight months ago – not even a full year – Chappell said two of her lawnmowers were stolen right from the backyard and the chain lock on the fence was cut.
The family is now planning on moving.