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Publication Date : 13-12-2013
BAGUIO CITY: Thieves managed to steal Christmas lighting and glitter right off the summer capital’s newly lighted Christmas tree, as well as a Yuletide village at Burnham Park in Baguio City, the Philippines' summer capital, last week, angering city officials and residents.
Thieves managed to steal Christmas lighting and glitter right off the summer capital’s newly lighted Christmas tree, as well as a Yuletide village at Burnham Park in Baguio City, the Philippines' summer capital, last week, angering city officials and residents.
A series of LED lights equivalent to 20 boxes of lighting materials were stolen from the tree early morning of December 2 after it was lighted the previous night, said Brigitte Ancheta, the supervising engineer of the city government crew that built the public display on Upper Session Road.
Three days later, she said, lights were also stolen from the Christmas Village set up at the gated Rose Garden in Burnham Park.
The city government had cut down its Christmas budget to raise money for Baguio’s 1.5-million-peso aid to survivors of last month’s Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in the Visayas.
“That was why the thefts were so horrible,” Ancheta said on Tuesday night, as her team put additional touches to the tree.
Police have started looking into the thefts. The Christmas tree stands on a rotunda a few metres from a police station as well as a shopping mall on Session Road, Ancheta said.
“I will not judge the police harshly. The police closed that section of Session Road for the lighting ceremony and were busy managing December 1 night traffic. But it was odd that thieves were able to sneak up, pull out the LED series at the base of the tree without the police or the mall security guards noticing them,” she said.
A cable running through the road next to the tree was also cut but was abandoned. “I think the thief was struck by a mild power surge and fled,” she said.
Ancheta said the city is not certain if the thieves who took the LED lights from the tree were the same people who took lights from Burnham Park’s Christmas Village display.
The loss comes up to 18,000 pesos (US$407), she said, but the fact that the thieves had spoiled the city’s attempt to give Christmas cheer after Yolanda is what fuels their outrage.
“I was almost in tears when I discovered these incidents. We had to rush the construction of the Christmas tree to beat the deadline. We spent many nights fixing it up,” Ancheta said.