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Real-life Grinch gets jail time for theft of 4-year-old boy's gifts from JP porch last Christmas Eve

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  November 29, 2012 01:05 PM

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A real-life Grinch was sentenced this week to 18 months in jail for his alleged role in stealing a package containing a young boy’s Christmas gifts from the front porch of the child’s Jamaica Plain home last Christmas Eve, authorities said.

Ernest Polite, 40, of Hyde Park was convicted by a jury Tuesday on charges of trespassing and receiving stolen property, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Polite is on probation for a drug trafficking case in Maine and was convicted on drug distribution charges in Dorchester in 2006, prosecutors said.

West Roxbury District Court Judge Mary Ann Driscoll sentenced him to 18 months in prison, officials said.

Around 8 a.m. on Dec. 24, 2011, a tipster told police that a tall, heavyset man wearing a black hat, green jacket, and dark jeans and driving a brown Ford Explorer had taken a package from the front porch of a home on Bourne Street in JP, according to prosecutors.

Investigators later learned the packaged contained about $50 worth of toy Transformers meant as a Christmas present for a 4-year-old who lived there, officials said.

Officers spotted an SUV matching the tipster’s description, authorities said. After monitoring the vehicle for about a half hour, officers saw Polite, who matched the suspect description, get into a car parked directly behind the SUV.

Inside the car Polite went into was a younger woman wearing a red Santa-style hat, officials said.

Officers pulled the car over shortly afterward, according to prosecutors. The tipster identified Polite as the suspect from a lineup of similar-looking people with “85 percent certainty,” according to prosecutors.

Polite told the officers that another person had taken the package from the porch, prosecutors said. Polite told the officers that he had taken the package from that other person and left it in a nearby yard.

Officers found the package behind shrubs at a nearby house and returned the toys to the boy’s father, officials said.

“Every parent knows that a box of toys is worth much more to a child than the dollar amount on the price tag,” District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement. “The plan to steal them on Christmas Eve was just heartless. Fortunately, we’ve got a city full of elves and others who wouldn’t stand for it.”

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