Pumpkin theft is not uncommon in the weeks leading up to Halloween. While many teens may consider the theft nothing more than a harmless prank, for the folks who spend weeks carefully crafting their Halloween displays, that harmless theft or vandalism can be a devastating blow to their holiday spirit.

It was close to 1:40 am on October 18, 2017, when an officer patrolling the area of Maryland Heights received word that a concerned homeowner had noticed that their pumpkins had been inexplicably missing from their front stoop.

The Pinehurst subdivision was the first to be hit by the pumpkin-nappers, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It wouldn’t be long before more calls began to roll in, this time from the Arrow Heights neighborhood. Soon there was hardly a porch in town that hadn’t been hit by the bandits.

 
 
As the teens made their way through the Brookside subdivision, Sgt. Jamie White, who had been on the lookout for the pumpkin plunderers, spotted a Subaru Forester matching the description provided by an eye-witness.

The officer’s hunch that he had tracked down the culprits behind the missing pumpkins turned out to be true. When the officer approached the vehicle he spotted three teenagers crammed in with a total of 48 pilfered pumpkins and a gourd.

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The following day, Maryland Heights police lined the pumpkins and the gourd up one-by-one and posted a snapshot to their Facebook page. The residents were encouraged to pick their pumpkin(s) or gourd out of the line-up, trusting that everyone would be honest about their claim.

So far all but 13 of the pumpkins and the gourd have been returned to their rightful owners.

As for the teens, two 18-year-olds were charged with misdemeanour theft. The younger of the three teens, a 16-year-old, was referred to the juvenile court.