EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - UPDATE (8/10/17):The man accused of stealing more than $6,000 worth of Christmas trees from a Colorado tree farm, is facing trespassing and felony theft charges. In April, Anthony Brewer entered a not guilty plea before a judge. His jury trial is now scheduled in a couple weeks on August 29.
PREVIOUS (12/16/16):It seemed like a Christmas miracle. More than $6,000 worth of trees stolen from a Colorado tree farm, found and returned to the owners.
But unlike the famed Grinch, whoever is targeting the Colorado Tree Farm did not have their heart grow three sizes. The Christmas crook -- or a copycat -- struck all over again.
The saga began a couple of weeks ago when the Christmas Tree Farm was preparing to open for the holiday season.
"We realized that we were going to be short the number of trees we had ordered. After doing something checking, we found someone had driven through the back side of our property ... realized we were missing about 80 Christmas trees," said Levi Heidrich with the Colorado Tree Farm.
"It's kind of disheartening, especially this time of year."
The business checked with local nurseries and garden centers to see if anybody was trying to sell the stolen trees to them.
"We use a certain grower and we get certain varieties, so we knew exactly the size and variety we were missing," Heidrich said.
One day while driving around, Heidrich spotted a group of trees matching that description exactly.
"We live in the area, were driving by one day and realized these trees looked pretty familiar. They're the exact size and variety and have the same markings on them as the trees that are missing."
Heidrich found his stolen trees near Highway 24 and Judge Orr Rd at The Farm Store. The property is owned by the Tire King of Falcon. The owner was renting out a plot to a man who was selling Christmas trees.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office served a search warrant on Thursday. After investigating, they confirmed that the trees were stolen from Heidrich.
"We found the trees in the spirit of Christmas," said Heidrich. "We're ready to hibernate and spend time with our friends so hopefully we can find a home and donate these trees to people that could use them."
Heidrich found a local non-profit who would take all the trees and give them out to families in need. Or at least that was the plan -- until the trees were stolen a second time.
Surveillance video from around 5:30 a.m. Friday shows someone stealing the same trees a second time. A box truck can be seen on camera pulling up to the trees with someone walking around and loading them up into the vehicle. The same day the trees were destined to be donated.
"'We've been in business 39 years, first time we've ever had Christmas trees stolen," Heidrich told 11 News after the first theft.
And now they've been hit twice in the same holiday season.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office says there is a suspect for this Christmas crime. 11 News asked if it was the male selling the trees at The Farm Store. The sheriff's office couldn't disclose that information because the investigation is ongoing.