Thief with conscience returns joy to Stephen

A Fairy Meadow family whose Christmas display was stolen from their front yard has had the most important part of the display, a light-up Santa, returned.

Although a bit battered, the jolly fat man was found at the bottom of the Rice family's stairs on Tuesday evening, much to the delight of 21-year-old Stephen, who is autistic.

His mother Kris Rice said while she wouldn't want it to happen again, the theft had unexpectedly helped Stephen come out of his shell.

Fairy Meadow home stripped of Christmas lights

She said there had been an outpouring of Christmas light gifts from the community, and Stephen, who usually finds it difficult to socialise, had become more of a people person.

"They do have a very set routine," she said, referring to people who have autism.

The biggest surprise for the family was a box of lights sent from another autistic person in Queensland, who had learnt about the story via the internet.

"[Stephen] doesn't really socialise with people but now he's really good, it's been the one good thing that's come from all of this," Ms Rice said.

She believed media attention and the sharing of her story on Facebook had led to the thief returning Santa.

Ms Rice also thanked everyone who had donated lights since the theft.

"I want to tell everyone we really appreciate everything they've done and thank them profusely."

At least three houses were targeted in a spate of Christmas light robberies last weekend, and not all have had as much success as the Rice family in tracking down stolen items.

Ellengowan Crescent resident Katherine Misios had a large inflatable snowman, a small Christmas tree and an electrical power box stolen last Saturday night.

She said based on the items stolen, she believed her house had been targeted and watched prior to the theft taking place.

"They'd gone around and cut the extension cord leading from the garage," she said.

"It's heartbreaking thinking people do that.

"I've got grandkids coming from Bunbury in Western Australia ... that's why I was getting everything up, thinking it'd be lovely for the kids."

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