Thieves steal Christmas tree designated for gifts to children

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KIRKWOOD, MO (KTVI) – A real-life Grinch stole a charity Christmas tree from the Kirkwood McDonald’s last week.  The tree was a donation spot for a charity collecting toys for children in need.

Keith Rawlings in the Executive Director of Youth in Action.  He’s been placing trees at various business for the past 20 years.

“Gifts go to different agencies,” said Rawlings.  He said some of the agencies include Nurses for Newborns and the Ronald McDonald House.  During previous years the agency collected toys for children in Ferguson and Joplin.

He says last Monday he walked into the McDonalds on South Kirkwood Road when he was told the unbelievable.

“They said someone took your tree,” said Rawlings.  “I said, seriously?”

The tree contained paper tags customers can fill out, indicating the age and gender of the child to be paired with a donated gift.  Rawlings said surveillance video showed what appeared to be three suspects.

“I guess when no one was looking, they just picked it up put it in their car and took off,” said Rawlings.

The tree has been an inspiration for generosity.  Rawlings says some children save their allowance to buy gifts and donate them each year.  The tree was replaced with a new one courtesy of the next-door Fifth Third Bank.  Rawlings says donations were briefly interrupted, but will not be stopped.

“If you guys really need the tree that bad you know, you can keep it,” said Rawlings. “It’s just a shame.”

For more information about Youth in Action: http://youthinactionstl.wix.com/youthinactionstl