Grinch vandalizes Middletown Christmas tree ahead of annual lighting ceremony


MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — The City of Middletown’s Christmas tree was vandalized Monday just ahead of the big lighting ceremony next week. So will there be a Christmas in Middletown this year?

The lights are out on the Town Green, now hanging by their bare wires. Someone, a Grinch, didn’t go around stealing the lights but cutting the lines on the 100-foot pine. That’s according to the owner of the company who put the 6,000 lights up by hand.

Every year, thousands turn out for the annual tree lighting ceremony the day after Thanksgiving.

Chris Cardella and his family are usually among those celebrants. He tells News 8 he’s sickened someone would snip the lights his kids look forward to seeing glowing.

“It’s a very big deal for this community and this area to kick of the holiday season,” Cardella explained.

This year, Frederick Colby’s company, Marvel Pest Control, strung the lights. He spent hundreds of hours meticulously decorating only to return Monday night to see his hard work ruined.

“I start seeing wires hanging out of the lower branches, cut with wire cutters in really particular places… if you cut here, you know it’s going to kill this whole section,” Colby told News 8.

Whoever did this may not be the brightest bulb on the branch – there are cameras on every corner. Colby says the silver lining is that something prompted him to check in last night to put on the final touches before next Friday.

Otherwise, “We wouldn’t have known two days or the day before, and to try to fix all of that would have been a nightmare.”

Colby says all is not lost. He’s not going to rest until he fixes every last line. “I’m going to save Christmas as best I can. I’m going to save Middletown’s Christmas; at least the tree is beautiful, it’s important.”

Colby has a message for the Grinch. He’s hoping their heart grows a few sizes: “Be kind to each other, we’re going through a rough time, the world’s in a rough spot. It’s the holiday season, let’s spread love and joy.”

The lighting ceremony is still set for Friday, Nov. 26 in person on the Green. If you know who did this, call Middletown Police.

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