BOSCAWEN - The bottom half of a Boscawen Christmas tree has gone dark again, after a 50-foot string of lights was reported stolen for the second time in six days.
Located atop an island that marks the split between Routes 3 and 4, the tree has become a beloved sign of the season for travelers over the last few decades, according to Fire Chief Ray Fisher, whose department decorates the tree.
Local firefighters volunteer their time to string up the lights, as well as the funds to pay for the electricity to illuminate them through New Year's Day, he said. That's why the news that the lights had been stolen not once, but twice, hit Fisher hard.
"I really can't say what my reaction was, because you can't print those words," Fisher said Sunday night. "I was B.S., let's just say that. It's something the guys enjoy doing, and people love seeing, but I don't know what our next move will be. I don't want to keep putting up new lights so people can take them."
He said he will meet with fire department members tonight to determine whether they should replace the strand a third time.
"My gut feeling is that they will want to replace them, but we'll have to see," said Fisher. "That's what I want to do. I just don't know why someone would do this. It just gets you so angry."
Fisher said for years a real tree growing in the traffic circle was decorated by a snowmobile club. Once that tree grew too tall, town staff began placing a Christmas tree on the traffic island, which fire personnel now decorate. Fisher said it's a job they have gladly taken on for the past eight or nine years.
"This year the tree looked really nice," said Fisher. "We went and purchased new 50-foot strings of LED lights, and they looked really good on it. They were on there last Monday, but then by early Tuesday the lights on the lower part of the tree were gone."
Fisher said he purchased another 50-foot string of LED lights, and once again placed them on the tree, this time securing them with tie-wraps.
The tie-wraps were cut and the lights removed sometime early Saturday, he said. The tree had several branches broken off.
Fisher said Boscawen police are investigating.
"I think the first time, it was someone looking to get a free set of new lights," Fisher said. "The second time, I'm not sure. That could have been spiteful."