Grinch steals lights from arboretum

It seems that the Christmas Grinch is not just a wily character in the playful imagination of Dr. Suess.

Sometime between Sunday night and early this morning, someone climbed over the fence at the South Arkansas Arboretum and stole the lights off a live Christmas tree in the new gazebo on the west end of the arboretum.

The greedy culprit also took off with the extension cords that ran electricity to the lights on the tree. All the ornaments on the tree were either stolen or destroyed, according to an El Dorado police report.

Judy Ward, a member of the South Arkansas Arboretum board of directors, said she drove by the arboretum around 7 p.m. on Sunday and noticed that the tree was lit at that time.

Arboretum Caretaker Katherine Didendetto DiBendetto, who decorated the tree, reported the theft/vandalism to El Dorado police this morning.

The tree and its Christmas lights were an addition to holiday decorations that were hung at the entranceway of the arboretum last year.

“We’ve gotten comments from people who drive by the gazebo at night. They were saying it was such a dark spot there. We were trying to brighten that corner and make it look more festive,” Ward said.

The gazebo was dedicated in October and has served as the backdrop for several weddings since it was built earlier this year.

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