A career criminal who almost stole Christmas from some local kids, could spend the next dozen holidays behind bars.

Matthew Lee Elliott, 38, was convicted of several charges, including three counts of theft, this week in a Knox County court.

Prosecutors said Elliott stole Amazon packages from several homes on Tipton Station Road in south Knoxville on December 15. Many of those boxes contained Christmas gifts, like tool sets, UT football jerseys, and pre-school toys, that were meant to be wrapped up and put under the Christmas tree.

Luckily, officers caught Elliot while he still had the gifts, and they were returned before Christmas.

“Thanks to the hard work and diligent efforts of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the children were able to open their presents on Christmas morning,” said DA Charme Allen. “With the defendant facing at least twelve years in prison, I hope this case serves as a deterrent to would-be thieves this holiday season.”

Elliot will be sentenced in January. With fourteen prior convictions for theft, burglary, identity theft and credit card fraud, prosecutor will try to classify him as a Career Offender to increase his sentence. He could face a minimum of twelve years in federal prison.