GALLIPOLIS — Though the Grinch isn’t a literal suspect in reported vandalism and thefts from Gallipolis in Lights (GIL), someone has possibly borrowed from his bag of tricks.
Shari Rocchi, GIL committee member, reported two of the group’s three donation boxes placed at locations around City Park were vandalized and money was taken from them sometime over the weekend. Rocchi said GIL volunteers take turns checking, and emptying the boxes often. The boxes were checked and emptied Saturday evening and when a volunteer returned on Sunday, two boxes were discovered vandalized and emptied of an unknown amount of money. Two of the boxes, which have keyed locks, appeared to have been pried open, she said.
GIL has had at least one donation box at the park for the last few years with no incidents of vandalism or theft. Two additional boxes were placed this year, making a total of three donation stations. All of them serve as a way to finance the light display which is open through the end of the year and free to the public.
Rocchi said though the incident is “irritating” it does not diminish the group’s Christmas spirit during an otherwise momentous year for the lighting display which has seen its share of visitors; visitors which in-turn draw traffic (and tourism dollars) to downtown Gallipolis. Also, this year, the display had a record number of trees registered for the tree walk, a new electronic Christmas tree donated by Ohio Valley Bank which rotates digital displays and it was named as a destination on the Ohio Holiday Lights Trail, the latter of which was launched by TourismOhio.
The Ohio Holiday Lights Trail is a part of TourismOhio’s #HolidaysInOhio campaign, encouraging travelers and visitors to make new memories while experiencing Ohio’s seasonal attractions and events.
According to information submitted by the Gallia County Convention and Visitors Bureau on behalf of TourismOhio, Gallipolis is one of many distinctive light displays across the state where visitors can enjoy millions of twinkling holiday lights. Travelers can browse the Ohio Holiday Lights Trail online or download and print a map to share or take along in the car.
Rocchi said “people are enjoying it (the display)” and though she “hates this happened” in regards to the reported vandalism and thefts, the lights will burn on for those who wish to visit.
The Gallipolis Police Department is investigating the reported vandalism and thefts. Anyone with information concerning this incident, or suspicious activity at the park, should contact GPD at 740-446-1313.
Visit GIL on Facebook for updates on the display, announcements and activities.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.