Boise & Garden City

Nimble thief scales 30-foot Boise Christmas tree, makes off with ornamental topper

Thief climbs Grove Plaza holiday tree to steal topper, video shows

Police said a thief who climbed the holiday tree in Boise's Grove Plaza to steal the decorative topper emailed authorities and returned the snowflake-shaped star on Jan. 3. The theft was captured on video by Darrin Walton. Walton, a Boise resident
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Police said a thief who climbed the holiday tree in Boise's Grove Plaza to steal the decorative topper emailed authorities and returned the snowflake-shaped star on Jan. 3. The theft was captured on video by Darrin Walton. Walton, a Boise resident

The star-shaped snowflake that graced the top of Boise’s Christmas tree on the Grove Plaza during the past decade is gone.

Someone climbed the blue spruce tree early New Year’s Day — and stole the tree topper, according to Lynn Hightower, a spokeswoman for the Downtown Business Association.

She said the association reported the theft of the ornament to police Tuesday morning, after seeing a video of the incident captured by a witness, Darrin Walton.

The ornament is a six-pointed snowflake, much like the snowflakes that are adorning the city’s intersections. It is valued at about $500.

Walton said he was staying on the 13th floor of the Grove Hotel overlooking the plaza on the night of New Year’s Eve. He woke up around 3 a.m. Monday to use the restroom and noticed a man behaving strangely in the plaza.

“This guy was looking straight up, just standing still. It was like he was looking straight at us,” Walton said.

Then the lights on the tree “just started going crazy.”

“It’s just shaking all the way up, and I thought, ‘You know what, he’s going to steal that star,’” Walton said. So he took out his phone and started filming.

Walton said the thief grappled a bit with the ornament before pulling it down into the tree and slowly descending to the plaza.

“He went up at a really good clip, but he went down much slower,” Walton recalled.

Then the thief — along with an accomplice — walked away with the tree topper in tow.

“I was kind of stunned,” Walton said. “I can see somebody thinking it was an adrenaline rush (to climb the tree), but not stealing it. That’s not cool.”

Hightower said the theft is a loss for everyone.

“This tree is set up by the Downtown Boise Association on behalf of the entire community,” Hightower said. “So many people have enjoyed the tree and it’s decorations all season long. Hopefully whoever took it will find it in themselves to return it.”

The tree, which is adorned with 5,200 lights, is scheduled to come down Jan. 16.

Will they put another topper on the tree until then?

“At this time, I really haven’t thought about replacing it. Just hoping it is returned in good shape,” Hightower said.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller

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