Grinch accused of stealing Christmas in Cranberry

Franklin state police Trooper Matthew Shiley takes the Grinch and Buddy the Elf into custody outside Cranberry Area Elementary School on Thursday. (Contributed photo by Katie Welms)Franklin state police Trooper Matthew Shiley takes the Grinch and Buddy the Elf into custody outside Cranberry Area Elementary School on Thursday. (Contributed photo by Katie Welms)

By JIM MEYER – Staff writer

Engaging in his own war on Christmas, a Whoville resident was arrested in Cranberry on Thursday.

The classic cartoon character faces multiple charges, including stealing Christmas, according to Franklin state police.

The Grinch and Buddy the Elf exchange throwing of marshmallows with Cranberry Area Elementary School students on Thursday as the children were leaving for Christmas break. (By Richard Sayer)

The Grinch and Buddy the Elf exchange throwing of marshmallows with Cranberry Area Elementary School students on Thursday as the children were leaving for Christmas break. (By Richard Sayer)

As Cranberry Area Elementary School students left school for Christmas vacation on Thursday, they were pelted with snowballs by Grinch – apparently enraged by the sound of laughter – and Buddy the Elf, of the North Pole, police said.

All students were reported safe, and some returned snowball fire in self-defense, police said. Although no presents were stolen, Cranberry area schools staff are hoping for the safe return of elementary principal Robert Horner and teacher Michael Woods, who were absent during the incident.

According to police, Elf was taken into custody without incident. He was charged with disorderly conduct and released on an unsecured bond.

Trooper Matthew Shiley arrested Grinch after a short foot pursuit, police said.

“We got called out for an incident of trespassing and criminal mischief with two suspects climbing all over the (school) sign,” Shiley said.

The incident, Shiley insisted, was contained and should in no way put a damper on the holiday spirit.

“There should be no delays to Christmas,” Shiley said.

Elf had some strong words for Shiley.

“He’s an angry elf,” the trooper said. “He took all the fun out of it.”

Denise Brosius, a building aid at Cranberry Elementary, said that a passer-by noticed something was wrong and alerted police.

“Someone saw Buddy the Elf and the Grinch sitting on the school sign,” Brosius said. “I believe Buddy was the ringleader.”

In addition to the charge of stealing Christmas, Grinch is accused of disorderly conduct, fleeing from police and unlawful discharge of a snowball.

Grinch was arraigned before District Judge Patrick Lowery, who lamented that he had set bail too low at 35,000 gumdrops. Bail was posted by someone named Max.

“The Whos of Cranberry will not stop me from stealing Christmas,” Grinch said.