Security-camera footage of a string of pumpkin thefts in Arcata. | Footage provided by Maria Matteoli. Video edited by the Lost Coast Outpost.


An Arcata family is dealing with a flurry of pumpkin pirates who have been snatching and sometimes eating the decorative autumn gourds displayed on their porch.

Arcata resident Maria Matteoli told the Outpost that four different people have been caught stealing pumpkins on the family’s security camera this month, three times in the last week alone.

“We grew these from seeds,” Matteoli said. “My little 7-year-old is all proud of them and people keep stealing them. We’re also fostering a blind 13-month-old and he likes feeling the pumpkins. These pumpkins are special to us and three times a week they’re being taken.”

The strangest of all the porch thefts happened at 12:20 a.m. Sunday morning, when the family noticed a man munching on raw pumpkin flesh and washing it down with a nice brewski.

“My husband saw it happening live because we get little [security camera] notifications,” she said. “He was just hanging there smoking a joint and drinking an expensive craft beer while carving and eating our pumpkins.”

After flickering the porch lights, Matteoli said that the man reluctantly wrapped up his holiday feast and left. However, the family’s homegrown Halloween decor is starting to look rather bare after the recent spate of pumpkin pilferage.

“We have a diminishing supply of pumpkins,” she said. “We’re in this pandemic, so I was just trying to make the neighborhood more festive for the kids.”

The family has not filed any missing pumpkin reports with the Arcata Police Department.

Watch some of the family’s pumpkin thefts in the video above.