Grinches steal some Christmas joy |

Grinches steal some Christmas joy

Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff

Christmas is a time for . taking?

Apple Tree Community and Glenwood Springs residents have reported people stealing outdoor Christmas decorations from yards over the past few days.

For the third year in a row, Christmas decorations were stolen from yards in Apple Tree, a large mobile home park located just south of New Castle.

Apple Tree resident Lorene O’Neal said she’s reported the thefts to the management of the mobile home park each year they’ve happened, but decorations keep disappearing.

“I’ve been there three years and it’s been happening every year,” she said. “A lot of us reported it.”

So far this year, holiday grinches stole decorations from at least three residences, O’Neal said. She counted at least two victims last year, and in the 2000 Christmas season a Nativity scene was taken from Apple Tree’s church.

O’Neal said a large plastic candle and some big candy cane decorations were the latest items taken from her yard.

“What’s ironic is that I have 10,000 lights at my house and they took it anyway. It looks like daylight out there,” she said.

“They’re not just stealing decorations, they’re stealing my kids’ Christmas,” she added.

One of O’Neal’s neighbors had a projector that displayed a Christmas scene on the side of the house, but that’s now gone, too.

The theft at O’Neal’s yard happened the night of Dec. 12, she said. O’Neal was alerted to the thieves’ presence by her dog. But by the time she got to the front door, all she saw was taillights in the distance.

O’Neal said she reported the theft of her decorations to the Apple Tree Community’s management and asked the management to report them, but she hasn’t heard anything since then.

The park’s manager, Russell Talbott, downplayed the incidents and said he didn’t report them to police.

“It’s typical vandalism taking place,” he said.

Talbott also said that in the church Nativity theft in 2000, only the baby Jesus was taken, not the whole scene.

“She may be feeling picked-on because they do the most decorations in the park so they may end up being the target,” Talbott said of O’Neal.

In a similar incident, someone burgled Charles Steffen’s Nativity scene on Rockledge Drive in Glenwood Springs. The theft happened sometime in the early-morning hours of Sunday.

“They took the baby Jesus and the lamb,” Steffen said. “It looks kind of sad without them.”

Steffen said it’s not so much the monetary value of the theft, but the fact that someone would ruin a Christmas decoration that’s meant for everyone’s enjoyment.

“It’s kind of irreplaceable,” Steffen said. “If it had been a 100-foot length of hose, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it – it’s just the thought of it.”

The set, which consisted of three-foot plastic replicas of Mary, Joseph, Jesus in a manger, a wise man, a lamb and a donkey – with a light inside each piece – cost Steffen about $50. But he bought it at the now-closed Country General, and he’s not sure where he can get a replacement.

Garfield County sheriff’s spokesman Ron VanMeter said his department hasn’t received any reports of Christmas decoration thefts this year, but he encourages people to report such incidents.

“A lot of people don’t think they could ever be recovered so they don’t report it,” he said. “But I wish they would report it.”

Glenwood Springs police Lt. Lou Vallario, the Garfield County sheriff-elect, said while such thefts aren’t common, they do happen in Glenwood Springs from time to time.

“In the past, we’ve had the occasional stolen lawn reindeer, but it doesn’t happen too often,” he said. “A lot of times you’ll find them somewhere else.”

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext 511

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