Luke Moran-Rossen believes the Grinch is real.
And why shouldn’t he after the four-year old and his family returned home on Christmas Eve to discover that that their Christmas presents and other valuables had been stolen by a real-life, cave-dwelling creature with a heart "two sizes too small.”
“I was all ready for toys,” said the pint-sized Moran. “But I’ve seen the Grinch on TV and he stole my gifts.”
According to his father Mike Rosson, the hairy green thief entered through an unsecured front door to get inside the Mojave Street residence.
"We had just got back from baking cookies at grandma’s house," he said. "I had left the door unlocked for a visiting relative to enter while we were away."
Upon entering, Rosson's initial thought was that the family dog had gotten into the gifts because she had eaten a box of Christmas chocolates the day before. However, after a quick room-by-room walkthrough, he discovered that other items were missing and his heart sank.
“First I was angry and then I was hurt, because I really worked hard this year to make the first Christmas my son would remember special," said Rosson. "He doesn’t remember anything about last year, but now he is still is talking about the Grinch two weeks later.”
Among the estimated $2,500 worth of items that were taken was an iPad, various pieces of jewelry, and a vintage Oakland Raiders football helmet once owned by a close friend's father who has passed away.
Also stolen was Rosson's heart medication from his kitchen cabinets, leading him to believe the thief may have been stealing to support a drug habit.
Although Rosson said the gifts could be replaced, seeing his son cry on Christmas Eve really got to him.
“It didn’t really hit me, until it hit him (Luke),” he said. “We can get the gifts back, but not the memories of that night."
The family did have insurance on some of the electronics that were taken, but some of the deductibles are as high $200, and like all families, money is tight. Rosson said he and his girlfriend of eight years, Cathleen Moran, will just have to work harder to get the items replaced.
And while little Luke may have been brought to tears, fortunately Santa Claus had not made his rounds at the Rosson's before the Grinch arrived, so there was still one present left — a huge basketball game that sits in the family’s living room.
That among other items donated by friends who scrambled to round up small gifts from the Love's Travel Center at 3 a.m. in the morning, allowed the Rosson's were to provide their son some joy on Christmas Day.
Rosson who grew up in Bakersfield has lived in Tehachapi for 10 years, and said despite what has happened he is not going anywhere.
"It’s not just Tehachapi, but it hits hard because it never used to be this way here," he said. "But unfortunately times have changed.