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.”


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