There’s a Grinch running around the streets of Santa Barbara this holiday season, and the tops of Christmas trees seem to be what he or she is craving. The Grinch first struck on Friday, November 24, in the wee hours following Thanksgiving Day, when most Santa Barbara residents were asleep with visions of turkey legs and mashed potatoes awash in their heads.
That’s when the tops of 39 Christmas trees were lopped off at the lot in Earl Warren Showgrounds. The vandalism left owner and longtime tree-slanger Anthony Dal Bello with a $5,000 bill. But that was’t enough anti-cheer for this Grinch.
He returned, rather boldly, again in the wee hours, but this time on November 26. The Grinch’s chopping tool got extra hot this time as nine massive Christmas trees — the kinds purchased by hotels and malls — were sawed in half. Those trees, were reportedly worth $9,000 alone, and they’re not covered by insurance.
Dal Bello, who also owns a Milpas Street Christmas lot, has been in the business for 53 years. Asked about the vandal’s motive, he said, “I guess it’s someone who doesn’t like me.”