Thieves steal lighting equipment for Fresno City Hall Christmas tree

FRESNO, Calif.

The Fresno City Hall Christmas tree was put up and decorated entirely by volunteers. About two months ago the volunteers went to a warehouse where lights and decorations for the tree are stored. Most of the necessary items were there except for some expensive electrical equipment and cords used to light the tree. The missing equipment could have meant no Christmas tree for the city this year.

Robert Jensen has helped put up, decorate and light the Christmas tree outside of city hall for seven years. He says this one will be the most radiant tree the city has ever seen.

"It is going to be the best tree we've ever had period," Jensen said.

But it almost didn't happen because a Grinch stole close to $2,000 worth of equipment that was used to power the tree.

"We had a spider box, that is a junction box for all of the electric wires to connect into, that was stolen, the power cord that supplies it going to the Christy Box by the fountain was stolen, the remote control switch that turns the tree on and off was stolen," Jensen said.

Fortunately, Electric Motor Shop and Supply Company in Fresno loaned volunteers the equipment needed to power the lights.

"We're fortunate this year with the volunteers and the people who have stepped up to help replace the items that were taken," Fresno City Hall Press Secretary Micahel Lukens said.

"It's awesome if it wasn't for them we wouldn't have a tree. We'd have a tree but it'd look like the way it does now, no lights, no ornaments, it would be a Charlie Brown tree," Jensen said.

Volunteers say just wait until this tree is finished and all lit. It will be a display showing how the community came together to spread the holidays spirit.

"Times are tough where people don't have a Christmas tree this time of year because of foreclosure or the economy being bad, well this is kind of what's going to be their tree," Jensen said.

The tree lighting ceremony will be held on Dec. 3.

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