Holidays Unplugged: Seasonal Steals

Puppy scams, swiping baby Jesus from your yard, and other crass acts by Christmas crooks.
8:18 | 12/07/12

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Transcript for Holidays Unplugged: Seasonal Steals
No matter what your faith is, we are in the thick of the holiday season. A season of giving. But don't let your guard down, because some people interpret that as the season of taking, even swiping the baby jesusm your front yard. So, we start with a big scary green guy you've all heard of. And I'm not talking about what you look like the day after the office christmas party. ♪ You're a mean one ♪ ♪ mr. Grinch ♪ t Reporter: The grinch who stole christmas. Everything must go. Reporter: The presents. The decorations. The tree. But if you believe that no one's that cold-hearted in real life, think twice. Turns out holiday season is steaming season. Check out this brazen bandit, swiping a led of presents from the front porch of this house in broad daylight. And why bother buying when you can break in and steal a ten-foot symbol of peace on earth. And to make sure the holiday is about family, this colorado grinch brought along his young son. Just this week, in texas, survey lens cameras catch this guy making out with santa's sled and frosty, too. Fearing not the naughty list, he goes back nabbing a train set and even the big man himself. And then, there's this caper, that got a ton of attention in phoenix. Christians, avert your eyes. Stealing jesus from a church and into a pickup truck. Baby jesus goes missing almost every season. Reporter: The robinson family of denver waits all year for jesus to come. Only to have him sinfully swept away. It means a lot to us to have this nativity scene. It's, you know, to keep christ in christmas. Reporter: So, this year, the robinsons are boosting the only nishs of their god child. In the form of a gps tracker. In fact, a security company gives out gps tracking devices free to churches all over the country now, like this one in new jersey. But this kind of theft is penny compared to the band that we found make the grip ch look like santa claus. They steal hundreds of millions of dollars, countless hearts, and even puppies, of little kids. Puppy scams are some of the worst of the worst. Not only have you lost in your pocketbook, but your heart's been harmed. Reporter: A diabolical international online puppy selling scheme. Preying on loving parents like cole turner. A texas firefighter looking for a puppy for his 7-year-old little boy ty, after their beloved dog was killed by a coyote. Cole decided to go big this time, a great dane. So maybe it wouldn't be such an appetizing thing to a coyote. Reporter: An online breeder sent these photos. Hello, baby mar ma duke. Turner signed a contract on the payment. But on the agreed-to day for delivery, no dog. And one brokenhearted boy. Kind of like waking up on christmas morning and santa claus not being there, almost. I really would like to find out who did this, too took my money? Who made my son cry? Reporter: We decided to get off these grinches. Our reporting revealed a vast network of online con artists behind the puppy scam. Mostly based out of nigeria, like these guys, shot by abc news. We decide to lay some bait, with the perfect hapless victim. Me. We try out one of many suspicious ads on a website, offering french bulldog puppies, like these for sale. I'd like the dog as soon as possible. Easy, they tell me. Just wire $700 and the dog would come to the airport of my choice, in days. I'll get the mup out today. You'll have it tomorrow morning. We're told to send the money to gertrude marshall of michigan. We figured, phony name, right? Wrong. This is gertrude marshall. Everything else was phony. Turns out gertrude was the victim of a scam within a scam. She told us she thought she was just helping her online nigerian boyfriend, jimmy, cashing and sending him wire transfers for what he said was his electronics company. I was gullible. I was stupid. Reporter: Gertrude was angry, but she was grateful. So, she gave us an early christmas precept. All her account information, so, we could track down jimmy, the man who was scamming her. We had a new plan. Simple. I would pose as gertrude and seduce jimmy into showing his face. First, I had to get the feel of gertrude's vibe. Ineed to be me, be sexy, but don't give it all away. Save some for later. Reporter: Jimmy, you call him baby, or just jimmy? Honey. Reporter: Honey. It wasn't going so well. My moves seemed to lack ger truld's magic. I got no game, gertrude. I got nothing on you. Maybe it was the time difference, you know, it was very early for me, most of the time. My wife was looking over my shoulder. Anyway, I switched tactics and go to my strength, threats. Hints that if he doesn't show himself, gertrude may never cash another wire for jimmy. Sure enough, lover boy says, he has a surprise for gertrude. Turns out this. This is jimmy. But he is about to get the real surprise. Jimmy. Jimmy, why you look so surprised? You running a scam, right jimmy? And you got caught. Jimmy, of course, becaails. Yeah. But can you believe he almost immediately messages ger trud, asking her to do another wire transfer pickup. No shame in his game. But gertrude is out of his clutches. Her situation made us think of what happened with cole turner. He was furious at the scammer who ripped him off, whom he believes is a woman. It really takes you mad. Reporter: Hold on a second, cole. We suspected the woman may be just like gertrude. Sure enough, when we found her in new york, she, too, had no idea about any puppy. And a heart that belonged to a man in africa. Who she'd only known online through this one photo. Have you ever sat with him like this, face to face? No face to face. Reporter: She, too, thought she was just sending business payments to her online lover. But we tracked down the man in nigeria who was actually receiving the money. She had been duped. What makes you sad? Because I never ask somebody for money. I never ask somebody for money. Never. Reporter: Our reporting freed her from her scammer. But not from potential criminal responsibility. And that is when something took over here. Something scammers could never steal. Holiday spirit. When we told turner about her situation, he decided to close the case and open his heart. If she was truthfully scammed herself, of course I can forgive her, because she didn't know what she was doing. She didn't do it. Her name was used. Reporter: And so, we end with what this was always supposed to be about. A boy and his doggy. This christmas, ty turner has his coyote-proof pal, lou, bought from a real breeder. And dad has a valuable lesson of buyer beware. That's the way to buy a dog, face to face.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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