Grinch Steals Christmas Tree in Accomack County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Grinch Steals Christmas Tree in Accomack County

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WACHAPREAGUE, Va.- It is a story that plays out like the beloved cartoon, "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas."

Residents in Wachapreague rallied to save the holiday after someone stole the town's Christmas tree.

It happened a few hours after the town's inaugural tree lighting ceremony at Seaside Park. The event featured Christmas caroling, hayrides and Santa's arrival on a fire truck.

Mayor Fred Janci and his wife, Cathy, donated the 10-foot live fir that graced the park's gazebo.

"The Grinch will not win in Wachapreague," Janci said on the town's Facebook page.

"It's unbelievable that somebody would take the tree," said Joe Althoff, the manager at Wachapreague General Store. "I don't know what they are going to do with it. They can't sell it."

Chris and Nikki Wardius, of Wachapreague Inn, helped organize the tree lighting ceremony.

"We were all shocked," Nikki Wardius said. "After such a wonderful evening, we couldn't understand why someone would want to take the tree."

Chris Wardius built the Gazebo as Seaside Park two years ago. He described how it looked after the Grinch stole it.

"All the wires were hanging down from the ceiling that supported the tree. They were all cut." Wardius said. "The presents that we had for decorations around the base were stepped on."

Wardius and his wife offered to split the cost for a new tree, but Dana Townsend, a longtime employee of The Island House, gave them a five-foot artificial one.

Townsend bought the tree from Wachapreague Methodist Church's Thrift Shop.

Mayor Janci and his wife donated the tree to that store after several attempts to sell it at a couple yard sales.

"It's not quite as grand or as beautiful as the first tree, but it certainly looks nice," Wardius said. "It lets the grinch know that the Christmas spirit isn't gone."

While people in Wachapreague may never understand why someone would take their tree, they hope it will be put to good use.

"Hopefully they just didn't throw that nice tree out in the woods," Wardius said. "Hopefully they are using it in their home. I'm sure they are being forgiven."

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