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This thieving Grinch tried to torch Christmas.

A Tennessee man – whose heart was perhaps two sizes too small – played the role of holiday villain Sunday when he burned down a family’s Christmas tree and a child’s gifts under it, authorities said.

James Walker, 25, allegedly stole items from an apartment and stuffed them in his car before he heartlessly threw a child’s blanket over the tree and lit it on fire, Dyersburg police said in a Facebook post.

Responding officers saw that a window was opened to vent the fire and the home’s smoke detector was covered up, police said.

James Walker, of Tennessee, is accused of burning down a Christmas tree early Sunday.
James Walker, of Tennessee, is accused of burning down a Christmas tree early Sunday.
Dyersburg Police Department
The charred gifts were replaced with new ones.
The charred gifts were replaced with new ones.
Dyersburg Police Department

The victim wasn’t home at the time of the fire that occurred shortly after midnight, but later told police that the suspect was an acquaintance. The victim also told officers earlier that day that she and her brother got into an altercation with Walker, according to authorities.

Walker was arrested by police officers following a short foot pursuit, authorities said. Among the charges he faces include aggravated burglary, aggravated arson, resisting arrest and public intoxication.

Dyersburg police – through its outreach program – also help the victimized household by replacing the child’s gifts that were destroyed and even contributed a few extra toys ahead of Christmas Day, the department said. 

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