Grinches ruin Christmas laser lights

Published 12:10 am Saturday, December 17, 2016

LAPLACE — Terri Jouty was thrilled when her husband came home one day with one of those fancy new motion laser lights to decorate their house for Christmas.

The lights project bright, colorful stars onto the front of the house. Besides the beauty of the display, it’s a lot easier than climbing the roof to hang those icicle lights — if a bit more expensive.

Jouty’s home isn’t lit up, though.

The LaPlace resident has seen several social media posts from friends and neighbors saying their lights have been stolen, sometimes within hours of putting them out.

“I told him we can’t put it out because someone will steal it,” said Jouty, who lives in The Lakes Subdivision. “I’ve been seeing people on Facebook saying theirs have been stolen.”

Beverly Zeller of LaPlace posted that hers was stolen just minutes after her husband went outside for a smoke. Other residents say they only put theirs out for short periods of time and bring them inside when they go to bed. Some only put them in their backyards.

“It’s sad that people would steal Christmas decorations,” Jouty said.

The Grinches aren’t just in St. John the Baptist Parish, however.

The lights, sold as “Star Shower,” were first introduced to the market about a year ago and almost immediately became a popular target for thieves across the country. They are more expensive than most regular Christmas lighting, costing upwards of $30 to as much as $60. They don’t wrap around trees or bushes. Rather, it’s a single projector, which must be placed some distance from the front door for maximum effectiveness.

“I can see where they would be an attractive target,” said St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre. “It’s just sitting there in the front yard, right next to the sidewalk or street.”

Still, Tregre said he had not seen a number of complaints about the items being stolen, nor had Pat Yoes, the spokesman for the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office. That is due in part because most residents simply aren’t reporting the thefts.

“I haven’t heard of a bunch of thefts, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any,” Yoes said.

Tregre urged residents to try to thwart thieves by putting clearly identifying marks on the projection lamps in case they are recovered. He also said residents should find ways to mount the projectors onto wood or brick.

One clever YouTube video shows homeowners an inexpensive way to tether the device to a tree or lamppost using cable wire (

Jouty said her husband, who is somewhat handy, had a few ideas as well.

“The thing is, he never buys any Christmas decorations,” she said. “I usually find them. He came home all excited.”