The Christmas grinch who almost ruined the festive season for a nine-year-old Sydney girl has apologised for stealing her family's reindeer lawn ornaments, blaming the brazen theft on alcohol.
The thief’s guilty conscious got the better of him after seeing his shattered victim on national television in tears.
"You shouldn't do that anymore and you should say sorry to my dad and my mum and me,” Chiara Velardi said on 7 News on Friday.
In an anonymous letter along with two $50 notes, the reindeer-thief made a heartfelt apology.
“To whoever’s Christmas I destroyed, I’m very sorry for taking your reindeer. I was unaware of my actions due to being drunk,” he wrote.
“Don’t feel like you shouldn’t put up any more lights because they were wonderful. I hope this letter makes you feel better. I’m so sorry once again I promise to never do this again. Please feel safe and have a nice Christmas!”
The ornaments were stolen from the front yard of the Velardi family’s Middlegrange Grange home.
Security cameras captured a carload of hoodlums pulling over outside the house before one young man ran out and snatched the two reindeer.
The following morning, Chiara was in tears when she found out that her favourite decorations were gone.
Chiara’s father Roy said he was surprised to see two men knocking at his door after 11pm on Saturday night.
The men had recognised their friend in the 7 News footage and urged him to write an apology, which they delivered on his behalf.
"They were pretty genuine, they seemed genuine," he told 7 News Online, but felt they had only stepped forward because of the attention the story had gained in the news.
"I accepted the apology, I'm not going to take it any further. They apologised to my daughter too."
Thankfully, Chiara has also accepted the apology but the family will continue to bring their decorations inside after dark.
"You've got to be wary now that someone else is going to come along and do the same thing," Mr Velardi said.