WELLSVILLE - All municipalities must endure their share of crime, but the theft of Christmas decorations from a public space in Wellsville has caused a minor uproar among village residents.
Wooden figures of a gingerbread man and woman were among the decorations set up in the median of Broadway Avenue on Nov. 17. By the morning of Black Friday, a twin set posted at the fountain on Broadway at Fifth Street was gone.
"It just makes me mad," said Wellsville councilwoman Rosie Goss, who chairs the Christmas Beautification Committee. She says the thieves who stole the decorations also took away the joy that village residents, especially children and the elderly, experienced when seeing those figures on Broadway. "I don't understand," she added. "Why would you want to take that?"
A gingerbread man and woman Christmas decorations still stand at the fountain on Broadway Avenue at Ninth Street in Wellsville. A twin set that had been posted at the fountain on Broadway at Fifth, however, has been missing since the morning of Nov. 23. (Photo by Richard Sberna)
The missing pair of decorations were part of a six-piece set that Goss' committee commissioned this past spring that included two gingerbread men and women, along with a pair of candy canes. They were constructed by students at the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center in Lisbon at a cost of $200 each.
Goss said it took months of fundraising from numerous individuals and businesses to obtain the money necessary to have them completed. She also emphasized how hard the students at CCCTC worked to get the six-foot-tall figures completed for the village and for the help from instructor Chance Bricker in setting them up on Broadway.
Those responsible for the theft are being offered a chance to return the decorations anonymously and without penalty. "If it was a prank...get them back to us, no questions asked," Wellsville Mayor Susan Haugh wrote in a Facebook post. Bob Sell, owner of Sell's Auction Service, has offered to take them back on behalf of the village at his Sellabration Hall location at 409 Broadway Ave., where they may be left in the parking lot.
Goss said that her committee is also prepared to offer a cash reward for the safe return of the decorations or for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible. She added that she would vigorously pursue prosecution against the thieves.
On a lighter note, Goss mentioned that the village Light-up Night is scheduled for the evening of Dec. 6. The event will include the lighting of the village Christmas tree at the Fourth Street Gazebo and the crowning of the Snowflake King and Snowman King. The Christmas Parade will be held Saturday, Dec. 8.