SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) – Law enforcement in Santa Cruz were able to take a real life Grinch into custody last week when an attempt to swipe a piece from a church nativity scene went very wrong for the suspect.

Every year, the Messiah Lutheran Church puts up their nativity scene up for people to enjoy.

But officers say one man didn’t stop just to look.

CHP officers were out patrolling early Friday morning when they saw something that didnt look right.

A 20-year-old man was stumbling into the street carrying a figure of a wise man.

“He actually almost ran right in front of the patrol car and got ran over, but they stopped,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Sam Courtney. “He appeared to be intoxicated and continued running with the wise man in his hand.”

Courtney continued: “So they gave him a little short chase. He did give up the Wiseman at one point and finally they were able to catch him and take him into custody.”

This is the second time in two years items have been stolen from the scene. Church leaders say they will now be taking extra security measures.