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Elf 'steals' town's Christmas tree, gives it to cancer-stricken girl

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OAK GROVE, MO (KCTV) -

A small town came together Friday night to do something that a special little girl will likely never forget.

Outside Oak Grove, MO's City Hall, the signs of Christmas are up with lights and wreaths everywhere. But there's one very important thing missing and it brought out the police tape for a light-hearted caper to help one very special child.

"We found some, some substance that appears to be Pixie dust for lack of a better term," said Police Chief Bryon Price.

Price was talking about what was left behind at the scene of the crime: There's just a hole in the ground where people would see the Mayor's Christmas Tree.

"When I noticed it was missing, I went inside and called Chief Price," said witness Kim Drury.

"When I first got the call, I thought maybe they'd been in to the eggnog too much," Price said.

When the police chief showed up, sure enough the tree was gone and things only got stranger when police got a suspect description.

"It appears to be a white female, about a foot tall, this female is wearing a red jumpsuit," Price said.

It sounded suspiciously like Peppermint the Elf. KCTV5 first introduced viewers last weekend when Santa brought her to watch over a little girl named Bailey Bennet who's battling cancer.

"Santa loves you all the time," he told little Bailey at the time.

Peppermint's been going on adventures ever since and, sure enough, Santa called up to the mayor to explain what happened Friday. He explained that Peppermint swiped the tree to bring to Bailey.

"Santa did apologize and the mayor completely understood," said Oak Grove City Administrator Steven Craig.

Bailey was tired Friday night so she stayed inside to watch the lights, but her family knows how much it means to her.

"She loves the Christmas lights, so now she can come to the window and watch them when she wants to and I think Peppermint did a good thing," said her grandmother, Tina Butler.

Bailey's last treatments are done and the family's now working to make this Christmas count.

"Soaking up every minute we can with her," said her grandfather, Kerry Butler.

The tree will stay in front of Bailey's house all season to make those minutes brighter.

"She's very tough, she doesn't give up, she's still fighting," Tina Butler said.

City leaders said they were happy to loan the tree out to Bailey's yard. They will get a back-up tree at City Hall and Peppermint got an official pardon for the theft.

You can follow Peppermint's adventures on the Peppermint the Elf Facebook page. If you want to add to the fun of where she goes, click on the About section in the upper left to see how you can get involved.

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