A New Jersey town’s search for the vandal who damaged a popular Christmas lights display came to an end Saturday when officials discovered the Grinch was actually a medium-sized rodent.
Officials in Sea Girt, 65 miles south of New York City, spent the past week scrambling to replace the display’s severed wires in time for the borough's annual tree lighting on Friday, WNBC-TV reported.
The morning after the ceremony, the Sea Girt Police Department said it caught the vandal in the act, posting photos on social media of a squirrel climbing on the display and trying to take a bite out of the wires before running away.
"The Sea Girt Police Department is proud to report that the case of our broken holiday lights has been solved," the department said in a press release. "We are happy that no human acted as a grinch in this incident. The squirrel was 'charged' with criminal mischief and released on bail."
The discovery of the damaged wires originally had some residents thinking a vandal was trying to sabotage the holiday spirit.
"Somebody is trying to steal the spirit of Christmas," Amy Dafeldecker told WABC-TV.
But Sea Girt Police told WNBC they now are going to keep a close eye on the display as long as the squirrel is still on the loose.