MORNINGTON chamber of commerce is lamenting the Grinch who stole its Christmas decorated tree after just one night outside Empire Street Mall.
Chamber marketing and promotions co-ordinator Alexandra Levy said the theft of the $300 three-metre tree decked out in ribbons and Christmas lights was “so sad”.
“As a chamber, we cop it because people say nothing gets done and yet, when we do something, this happens,” she said.
“We decorated it on the Tuesday (4 December) and it was gone by the Wednesday.
“We had decided to go down the more sustainable road by buying a real tree rather than putting up paper decorations. A local lady had helped decorate it and it was looking really nice.
“The thieves would have needed a ladder to unhook it, leaving the ribbons and lights still attached to the power pole. We followed the trail into the car park and to their actual parking bay. They would have needed a truck to take it away.”
Ms Levy is hoping CCTV cameras in Main Street and in the car park will help identify the culprits. “At the end of the day it’s theft,” she said.
There was one upside: Ms Levy said the theft had generated a “bonding process” among chamber members. “People I’ve never heard from have been contacting me to say how sad it is,” she said.
Since the theft, plans to erect more trees at Main Street pedestrian crossings had gone on the back burner “so as not to waste members’ money”.
Good news arrived by week’s end when Moorooduc Christmas Tree Farm – which provided the original tree – and Thanks Albert Burger Company, of Main Street, called to donate a new tree.
Mornington police said on Friday the CCTV footage was still being examined. Anyone with information is urged to call Constable Adam Proud, 5970 4900.