Thieves hit Christmas Tree Lane in Alameda

December 14, 2010 12:17:15 AM PST
There is an unfortunate first for a long-standing holiday display in the East Bay -- thieves hit Alameda's Christmas Tree Lane repeatedly over the weekend. It has never happened in the 72 years residents have been decorating homes on a block of Thompson Avenue near High Street.

There is something more than holiday decorations that are missing, it's the trust shared by generations in the community.

"It makes me sick, it makes me sad," victim Stacey Rivas said.

Carl Winterbauer had to replace 16 of his hand-made candy cane poles and the strands of lights that were connected to them.

"I was up until 4 a.m. looking out the window," he said.

Among the 54 brightly lit homes, at least four were hit on Friday and Saturday night. It violates a tradition enjoyed by generations of Alameda residents since 1938.

"The only time it was blacked out was for World War II," Gayle Winterbauer said.

So far police have no leads, but the tiny residents along Christmas Tree Lane believe the thieves will face serious consequences.

"Put him on the naughty list," Meghan Benz said.

They say it is not the material loss that hurts; it's the assault on the holiday spirit everyone shares.