JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla — A Grinch has appeared in Jacksonville Beach, stealing light and sound equipment necessary for the annual Deck the Chairs display.
According to Kurtis Loftus, founder of Deck the Chairs, someone took the equipment from the site sometime between Sunday night and Monday afternoon. The stolen items include a laptop and other components used to put on the tree's light show each night of the event.
"I saw all the technical pieces gone," Loftus said, as he walked into the tall electrical tree Monday afternoon. "Cables were everywhere. I knew we’d been vandalized."
A thief grabbed the equipment that enable the tree and 10 of the closest displays to become a dancing vision of lights set to music.
"It’s the heart of Deck the Chairs," Loftus said.
Loftus said he had families waiting to see the large tree's light display Monday night, and he had to tell them it was not going to happen Monday.
The event has not had any issues with vandalism or theft in the past. Loftus said it is a $3,000 loss when you count the equipment and labor needed to get the tree back up and sparkling.
He replaced the electrical components, spending money from the non-profit's fund to do so. After nine hours of labor to install new equipment to replace what was stolen, the show went on Tuesday to entertain thankful visitors.
As for the Grinch, he may have stolen some equipment, but he did not steal Christmas.
"He tried! The grinch tried, and we’re not going to let it happen!" Loftus exclaimed with a laugh. "How about that!"