The theft of 60 Christmas trees at a Boy Scouts of America fundraiser in the Town of Ulster will cost the Rip Van Winkle Council thousands of dollars. But as our Alexandra Weishaupt reports, the scouts are not letting the incident bring them down.
ULSTER, N.Y. -- Theft and vandalism leave a dark cloud over the Rip Van Winkle Council.
“This is really why we need scouting. We need to teach leadership and citizenship to young people so that they grow up to be good citizens so that they don’t need to see the easy way out by taking something from somebody else,” said Executive Director of the Scouts' Rip Van Winkle Council, Ray Braun.
Sixty Christmas trees were stolen and fencing and a trailer damaged in the act at the Burlington Coat Factory parking lot on Route 9W early Thanksgiving morning.
“The theory is someone must have wrapped a chain around it and pulled it with a truck and knocked it over and then they carried the trees out,” said Braun.
Bruan got the call around 2 a.m. from the Town of Ulster Police, who are now investigating.
“Really, I think it’s sad. All the profits from the trees go to the kids,” said Boy Scout Kevin Shorette.
The scouts set up shop to raise funds for Camp Tri-Mount. The money gathered from the sales of these Christmas trees is used to help offset the costs to afford the camping experience to as many scouts as possible. And they’re now at a more than $3,000 loss.
But behind every dark cloud, Braun says there’s a silver lining. Just as quickly as the crime occurred, so did the cleanup. The following morning, the scouts were at the lot picking up the pieces and continuing on with their efforts.
“You take that pit feeling and you turn that around and say, but there’s hope. These are our young people and they don’t see it as devastation,” said Braun. “Our kids came and they saw the difference and that’s where the focus has to be.”
There are more than 700 trees left to be sold. The scouts will be there until the lot is bare.