It was Christmas morning when Deborah Gray noticed something in her San Pedro neighborhood was missing.
One of the two blue viewfinder scopes perched on a paved lookout overlooking the Port of Los Angeles was gone.
“Some Grinch did this on Christmas Eve,” Gray, who lives near Lookout Point Park, in San Pedro, said Friday evening, Dec. 27. She could see the area from her home.
Indeed, barring any other explanation, it would appear that the missing scope was stolen, said Paul Winter, Harbor Division officer for LAPD, who is also the senior lead officer in the San Pedro coastal neighborhoods.
“I assume it was taken,” he said by phone Friday.
Winter went to Lookout Point Park on Friday — his first day back after some time off — after receiving calls and seeing chatter on social media about the missing viewfinder. He will file a report on Monday, he said. As there’s no report yet, there are also no suspects.
But why would someone steal one of these heavy tourist-attracting binoculars?
The scopes, Winter suggested, could be seen as having a nostalgic appeal.
“Someone will probably put it on eBay or Craigslist,” he said.
Gray, for her part, also said the scopes would have some money in them — they cost 50 cents a pop to use, after all.
The pivoting viewfinders, on L.A. city land that was once a military installation that outfitted with harbor defense guns, provide a panoramic scene of the harbor below, and closeups of the port, Angels Gate Lighthouse, Long Beach across the harbor and Catalina Island for several minutes at a time.
The area has also been popular with filmmakers, with the 2005 film “Crash” having key scene, featuring Matt Dillon, taking place there.
View scopes have been there for — at least — the more than 20 years Gray has lived in the neighborhood, the longtime resident said.
She said an earlier pair were stolen about 15 years ago.
Winter, meanwhile, said it appeared that whoever took the scope simply removed the bolts and lifted the device from its post.
It probably weighed about 100 pounds, Winter added, and was likely loaded into a vehicle and driven away.
The lookout officially closes at 10 p.m. but the area is not gated. The facility is under the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department. Officials with that department did not return requests for comment Friday; Branimir Kvartuc, spokesman for City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents the area, said he was out of the country and didn’t know anything about it.
“It’s a sad thing,” Gray said. “It’s just not good Karma.”