Christmas: Boy calls 911 to report Grinch
JACKSON, Miss. — It's actually a story of saving Christmas from the Grinch.
TyLon Pittman, a 5-year-old Mississippi boy, knew he was too little to take on the Grinch all by himself, so having identified the threat, he took action. TyLon called 911 to report that he did not want the Grinch to come steal his Christmas.
TyLon recapped the call he made Saturday night, unbeknownst to his family. "911 said, '911,' and guess what happened?" TyLon said.
What happened was that Byram (Miss.) Police Officer Lauren Develle heard about it and wanted TyLon to know that his holiday was safe.
"Our dispatcher posted a status on Facebook that she had received a call from a little boy ... and he told her he thought the Grinch was going to be coming to steal his Christmas," she said. "I asked her to send me his address."
When the family heard someone at the door late Saturday night, and then saw a flashlight outside, they didn't know what to think.
Officer Lauren Develle and TyLon Pittman, who called 911 on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, to make sure the Grinch did not steal his Christmas. (Photo: Provided by TeDera Dwayne Graves via The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion Ledger)
When they finally answered the door, there was Develle, who grew up loving How the Grinch Stole Christmas movie, and more than once in her life has been compared to the beloved character Cindy Lou Who.
"I kind of find it really funny. ... Every Christmas morning, my dad wears these Grinch pants," she said with a smile Sunday. "It's his favorite movie. Growing up seeing the Grinch every Christmas was my favorite thing."
TyLon's brother, TeDera Dwayne Graves, is in the Air Force. He's home for the holidays for the first time in four years and caught the interaction on video. He put the videos on Facebook, thinking his family and friends would enjoy the funny interaction between his brother and Develle.
"I can NOT make this up!!!" he posted. "My 5-year-old brother called the police and said that the Grinch is stealing people's Christmas and he don't want him to steal his, so they really came to our house!"
TyLon Pittman saw some videos about the Grinch stealing Christmas and he did what you're supposed to do when someone's stealing things: He called 911. Therese Apel/ Clarion Ledger
"The Grinch is not going to come steal your Christmas. I won't let that happen," Develle told TyLon.
TyLon told Develle that he had seen the video on Facebook. He showed her the video, and told her he watches all the videos about the Grinch.
"So what are you going to do if he tries to steal your Christmas?" Develle asked TyLon.
"I want y'all to come back to my house and take him to jail," TyLon replied.
Develle said she was pretty sure the Byram Police Department could handle that request.
“I'm going to say put your hands behind your back and get down on the ground, then when he gets on the ground, I'm gonna say, 'Why are you stealing Christmas?'”
Tylon Pittman, 5, on if he caught the Grinch
"You thought the Grinch was going to steal your Christmas, for real?" TyLon's mother, TeResa Pittman, asked him.
The boy nodded solemnly. "He steals everybody's Christmas."
On Sunday, TyLon explained further what he will do if he runs across the green man himself.
"I'm going to say put your hands behind your back and get down on the ground, then when he gets on the ground, I'm gonna say, 'Why are you stealing Christmas?' " he said.
On Monday, TyLon got his chance to question Christmas' arch villain.
The Grinch was apprehended and escorted into a holding cell by officer Develle and honorary junior officer TyLon, wearing his newly acquired Byram Police Department baseball cap.
The Grinch could be charged with various crimes, including attempted theft of Christmas, Develle said. It wasn't as much about charging him for his wrongdoing as keeping a promise to her new friend.
TyLon Pittman, 5, "arrests" the Grinch for attempting to steal Christmas alongside officer Lauren Develle at Byram Police Department on Monday, Dec. 18, 2017. (Photo: Justin Sellers/The Clarion-Ledger)
"I asked (TyLon) if he saw the Grinch, what would he do, and he said he'd call us and get us to come take him to jail. So I ended up looking around and I found him," Develle said.
Hanging his head, still wearing his Santa outfit, the Grinch put up no fight as he was shut in the holding cell inside the police department.
"Come here, Ty," the Grinch said. Taking the boy's hand in a handshake, he said: "You have saved Christmas for the people of Byram. Your bravery is unmatched. You have saved the day."
"Why are you stealing Christmas?" TyLon asked him with an unwavering gaze.
After a moment of thought, the Grinch just shrugged his shoulders.
Byram Police Chief Luke Thompson presented TyLon with a Grinch doll so he could always remember the occasion. Like Develle, Thompson also made a promise to Ty, who wants to be a cop when he grows up.
"When you turn 21, come back and I'm going to give you a job application, OK?" he said.
TyLon Pittman, 5, locks up the Grinch at Byram Police Department after "arresting" him Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, for attempting to steal Christmas. (Photo: Justin Sellers/The Clarion-Ledger)
TyLon's mother and brother both said this Christmas is one they will always hold dear.
"For them to go this far and have this happen, when he wants to be a police officer, it means a lot," said Graves. "And it just shows that there are some really good people out there."
Even after the Grinch's apology, TyLon stood steadfast, however. He would not let him out of the holding cell.
"He's not letting him out," Pittman said, to which Graves added, "He's serious about that."
Thompson said the whole event can help people remember what the holidays are about.
"Let's have a little joy this year," Thompson said. "And this has certainly brought a lot of people joy."
Follow Therese Apel on Twitter: @TRex21