Search in Pine Grove for Christmas Tree Thief

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PINE GROVE -- People in Schuylkill County are in disbelief that someone would do steal a tree from a church right before Christmas.

While Pine Grove police continue their investigation, St. Peter's Lutheran Church has put up a reward for information on whoever stole the Christmas tree.

Driving up the hill through the St. Peter's Lutheran Cemetery in Pine Grove, there are supposed to be three Christmas trees.

Now, there are only two. Police say the one in the center was chopped down and stolen.

Just down the street from the cemetery, at O'Neal's Pub, Brett Lentz couldn't believe something like this would happen in this quiet community.

"It's very shocking. It's disturbing that someone would do that, too, and apparently, they are in need so that's the thing we had to think about most is this is the season of giving and apparently they needed it more than the cemetery," Lentz said.

Pine Grove police first noticed the tree had been cut down while doing rounds at the cemetery. They say whoever did it used a hatchet leaving unwanted branches behind.

Police say it was cut down sometime last week and they are still searching for whoever took the Christmas tree.

"A normal thinking human being, you wouldn't go out and do that. There are charities that give out trees," Lentz said.

Pine Grove police say this is the third time something like has happened to the Lutheran church.

The tree which had grown to seven feet is now reduced to a stump.

"It's bad enough to steal someone's Christmas tree but when you are going to go to the cemetery and steal their Christmas tree that's just wrong," said Frank Molinaro of Hazleton.

The people at St. Peter's Lutheran Church are so fed up, that they are offering a $1,000 reward for information on who stole the tree at the cemetery.

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