In Falmouth, a real Grinch steals church Christmas wreaths

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FALMOUTH — Nearly a dozen decorated Christmas wreaths were stolen from the Falmouth Congregational Church last week before an annual fundraising event.

Beth Anderson, who co-chairs the church wreath committee, said the total value of the stolen wreaths was about $250; each one sells for between $25 and $28. All proceeds go towards the church’s general fund, and are eventually donated to various causes.

“We want people (who live in the area) to be aware this happened,” Anderson said.

The wreaths were to be sold at the church’s annual Holly Days Fair, which was held Nov. 21. Town Councilor Russell Anderson, Beth’s husband, said it is likely the wreaths were stolen the night before the event.

He said the Holly Days Fair is the church’s biggest fundraising event of the year.

“I think this is absolutely the first time (a theft) has ever happened,” he said.

Russell Anderson said the $250 was “not insignificant at all,” and said he hopes whoever stole the wreaths will return them.

“The church isn’t mad or vindictive, we just want the community to be aware,” he said. “If the person who has the wreaths sees fit to return them that would be wonderful.”

The Andersons are both members of the church on 267 Falmouth Rd.

Falmouth Police Lt. John Kilbride said six wreaths were reported missing over the weekend, although it is possible the number has increased.

“It’s unusual,” Kilbride said. “It’s too bad.”

Laurie Davis, who co-chairs the committee with Beth Anderson, said it was “disheartening” to discover the wreaths had been stolen. She said eight wreaths were discovered missing on Saturday morning, and three more wreaths were declared missing in the afternoon.

“We worked hard on those,” Davis said. “It’s so disappointing to know that somebody would do that.”

Beth Anderson said the wreath committee, made up of 14 people, had been working on the wreaths since September, first gathering materials and eventually spending “hours of work” on decorating. There was a total of about 130 wreaths, and about three-quarters of them were decorated, she said.

Beth Anderson said only decorated wreaths were stolen, while the “more accessible and clean” wreaths had been left alone.

The wreaths had been left outside, set back from the church. Davis said they were delivered on Nov. 13, so they had been sitting out for a week before the theft, tied down and covered with a tarp. Davis said the wreaths need to be outside to ensure they keep them fresh.

“The sense at first was disbelief that someone would come up and steal these and steal from a church,” Beth Anderson said.

Anderson said she believes whoever stole the wreaths intends to resell them, which Davis also suspected. The wreaths are made of evergreens purchased from Skillins Greenhouse, with colored bows, cones and berries on them. They are in two sizes, 18 inches and 24 inches.

Davis said they would “stand out in a crowd.”

After the theft, the wreath committee bought materials to make replacement wreaths, because several had been pre-ordered.

Despite the theft, Anderson said the Holly Days Fair was very successful, and wreath sales alone raised about $2,800. She said in addition to selling all the wreaths, community members donated enough money to reimburse the cost for the replacement wreaths.

She expressed her thanks to donors and the community for their support, said she wasn’t sure how much had been raised in total. However, in years past the event has netted over $14,000, Anderson said.

“People should be aware that … even in our town these things are happening,” Davis said.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or