The theft of Christmas lights from a storage unit could endanger the annual holiday lights show in the Village of Hadley,
Thieves cut a hole in the fence surrounding the Fruitland Park Mini Storage at 3:20 a.m. Sunday and stole a 12-foot-by-7-foot indigo blue enclosed trailer. The trailer contained the bulk of the custom Christmas lights and displays which have made the Hadley neighborhood light show a holiday favorite.
Villager Hans Mantel, the owner of the trailer and lights, valued the lights and custom displays at $20,000.
“I can’t believe someone would steal these Christmas lights and custom displays,” Mantel said.
Mantel said he made most of the light displays which were designed to be displayed using his computer. Without the custom program they will not display properly.
The Village of Hadley resident and his neighbors have been using their light displays to raise money for local food banks and other charities. Just last month, Mantel and his neighbors gave a check for $7,000 Sumter County Sheriff’s Department to help fund youth programs and outfit the K-9 unit with bullet proof vests. You can read more about their donation HERE
Mantel fears that the loss of the light display may endanger this years Christmas display. He is hopeful that the loss will be covered by insurance.
The case is being investigated by the Fruitland Park Police Department. The thieves were recorded on a security camera and were driving a gray four-door Nissan pickup truck.