Tree bandits make amends

Three of the four persons in their 20s who claim responsibility for cutting down two community Christmas trees in Susquehanna County over the previous weekend replaced one of them in Hallstead Monday night. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

BY STACI WILSON

Four people connected to the Dec. 4 heist of Christmas trees in two Susquehanna County communities replaced one of those trees Monday evening.

The three men and one woman, ages 21 through 25, arrived at the Mountain View Plaza in Hallstead with a new tree to take the place of the 14-foot tall pine donated for the community’s seasonal enjoyment by the Hallstead-Great Bend Lions Club.

Lions Club president Peter Dubik said he thought it was great that the young people were willing to replace the tree.

“They shook my hand and said they were sorry,” Dubik said. “As long as people are willing to admit their mistakes, maybe it’ll start something.”

As the four decorated the tree, Dubik said, “The spirit of Christmas is right there: hope, peace, joy and love.”

Steve Dibble, one of the four who brought the replacement tree to Hallstead said, “The whole group is sorry. We’re happy to be given the opportunity to make it right.”

Cody Norris added, “These both are our communities. We’re deeply sorry for our acts.” And he wished everyone a “Merry Christmas.”

The tree in Susquehanna was replaced just days after it was cut down from its place at the Veterans Memorial off Main St., in the town.

The four are expected to pay the cost of replacing that tree.