For more than 50 years, Rudolph and his lightbulb nose sat atop an L.A.-area neighborhood sign. Until this month, when the wooden Rudolph was torn from the sign, his antlers broken in the process.
Rudolph went missing Dec. 12 from his home atop the marker for the Ranchview neighborhood of Rolling Hills Estates on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
It couldn't have been an easy theft. Rudolph reportedly weighs 200 pounds.
On Monday, detectives received a tip that the four-legged ornament was on the rooftop of a home in a trailer park in Gardena.
"It was remounted and lit up as if it was their own Christmas decoration," the Lomita sheriff's station said in a news release.
With search warrant in hand, detectives recovered the wooden reindeer. Gardena homeowner Sandro Gonzalez has been arrested in the incident.
Gonzalez told detectives "he found it where people dump trash," according to a sheriff's spokesman.
A court hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday in Torrance.
While Rudolph was missing, industrious Rolling Hills Estates resident Tim Taylor created a look-alike Rudolph. He drew the decoration from photos of the stolen reindeer. It was then painted by another local resident, children's book author and illustrator Erin Eitter Kono, the Daily Breeze reports.
The replacement version was securely attached to the Ranchview sign.
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