3 arrested following theft of Christmas decorations

Published 2:27 pm Wednesday, December 19, 2012

BURLINGTON — Three men are facing pre-trial hearings at the end of December after being charged with first-degree misdemeanors of receiving stolen property.

The charges are in connection with the theft of a Baby Jesus and Santa Claus from the Christmas lights display at the Burlington Commons on Friday. This was the second incident in a month of vandalism at the park.

Cory A. Crabtree, 19, of 301 Helen St., South Point, William E. Pence, 26, of 7762 County Road 1, South Point, and Casey D. Hackworth, 24, of 2670 County Road 144, South Point, were arrested by Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputies on Saturday.

Email newsletter signup

According to a report by Deputy Nicholas Waugh, he was patrolling the Charlie Creek Road area at 11:30 p.m. Saturday when he saw a man standing behind the shopping center in that area and a vehicle without its lights on in the same vicinity. The man subsequently ran from the shopping center.

The deputy pulled the vehicle over and questioned Hackworth, who was driving. Hackworth said he was there to pick up his brother, Crabtree, and a friend, Pence. After deputy Steve Sisler picked up Crabtree and Pence on Charlie Creek Road, Waugh searched the vehicle Hackworth was in with his permission.

There he found the Baby Jesus, his report states.

“I noticed early in my shift that the Baby Jesus at the Burlington Park was missing,” the report said. “I talked to Cory and William and they did advise they were in the car all day and did notice that the Baby Jesus was in the back seat where they were sitting. But all three individuals wouldn’t tell who had actually taken the Baby Jesus.”

The three appeared in Lawrence County Municipal Court on Monday for arraignments. Pre-trials were set for Dec. 31. As of Tuesday afternoon only Crabtree remained in the Lawrence County Jail.

“It is so frustrating,” Harriette Ramsey, president of the Burlington Concerned Citizens, who maintain the park. “This is a volunteer committee. People volunteer, made the decorations or donated them. We are trying to make our community something everyone would be proud of. The committee has worked tirelessly every year and we hope the people here will back us and help us as our motto is “make our community better place to live, work and play.” If anyone wants to do something to join in and make things better, we would be very appreciative, instead of trying to destroy what we do.”