Bah Humbug: Thieves Steal Six Christmas Trees from Metro East Lot

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PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR / EMMA COOPER
A Metro East Christmas tree lot felt some strain on its holiday cheer when thieves took off with six trees Saturday night.

Sales at the 30-year-old Christmas tree lot, which is on East Edwardsville Road in Wood River, benefit the Alt-Wood Shrine Club, according to KSDK. The club uses the money to underwrite events that raise thousands of dollars annually for Shriner's Hospital for Children.

In other words, these thieves were total grinches.

They were also remarkably stealthy. How do you walk away with six full-sized Christmas trees without someone noticing?



They didn't just grab low-priced, Charlie Brown Christmas runts either. These six were the more expensive Fraser firs, each priced between $180 to $200, Jim Groppel, one of the lot operators, told KSDK.

“In essence, you've taken some kid's Christmas tree," said Don Huber, who is treasurer of the Shrine Club and also works at the lot. "Or, at least the benefits of that tree."

Groppel says that police have asked nearby businesses for details from their surveillance cameras that might help track down the tree thieves, though so far they haven't had success, according to KSDK.

He says that, in the past, the Christmas tree lot has simply given trees to people who are down on their luck.

"You just come and ask for it," Groppel told the news station.

Volunteers told Fox 2 that in the past one or two trees have gone missing from the lot, which has been in operation for 30 years. But six has been unheard of — until now.

This isn't the first time this month that unfortunate events have affected charitable efforts benefiting Shriner's Hospital for Children. Hundreds of toys intended for patients at the hospital were lost in the Botanical Heights warehouse fire on November 15, according to KMOV.

As for the Christmas tree theft, Fox 2 says anyone with information is asked to call Wood River Police at 618-251-3114 and ask for Officer Greene.