It appears that a real-life Grinch is on the loose in New Hampshire as a beloved life-sized 'Elf on a Shelf' has been stolen.
Dubbed 'Zippy,' the mannequin dressed in festive attire has become a staple in the town of Deerfield for the last three years, appearing throughout the community during the holiday season.
But much like the middle of many a Christmas movie, Zippy's story took a dark turn on Monday when a nefarious ne'er-do-well snatched the elf from his prescribed spot that day in front of a park.
Stunned and saddened by this development, the Deerfield Rescue Squad, who act as the elf's handlers, took to Facebook to sound the alarm and let residents know that Zippy had gone missing.
Lest one think that the doll's disappearance was merely clever hijinks from the department, the posting gravely declared, "this is not a joke or a game" and insisted that "no one should have been moving him during the day."
In turn, town officials are asking residents to be on the lookout for the elf in the hopes that Zippy's Christmas can be saved by reuniting him with the Rescue Squad.
As to why one would want to steal the holiday fixture, perhaps it was an act of civil disobedience as a way of expressing discontent with what the thief sees as an ever-encroaching surveillance state embodied by the omnipresent elf who lurks on Deerfield's proverbial shelf.
Or, of course, Zippy could have been taken by bored teenagers with nothing better to do on a Monday afternoon than find ways to wind up on Santa's naughty list.
Regardless of who took the elf and why, let's hope that Zippy gets returned to the Rescue Squad soon and that his Christmas misadventure comes to a safe conclusion.