Police investigating theft of money at tree fundraiser in West Boylston

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WEST BOYLSTON, Mass. – Members of the Christ Lutheran Church in West Boylston have a message for the holiday Grinch who stole hundreds of dollars meant for charity.

The church sells Christmas trees on an honor system for $35. The collection box is emptied daily by the church, but on Sunday, it wasn’t by a church member.

Church member Dick Johnson returned to the lot on Sunday night at watching the Patriots game. That’s when someone buying a tree pointed out the pried open payment box.

“We’ve been doing it for close to 15 years now this is the first unfortunate situation,” he said. ““It was tough, came almost to tears.”

The church isn’t sure exactly how much money was in the box at the time of the theft.

Church council president Al Lambert believes it contained between $400-$600 because of how many trees had been sold on Sunday.

“First, we want to pray the person really needed the money, want to think twice about what they did,” he said.

The collected money is earmarked for three charities that feed those in need: Worcester County Meals on Wheels, Kids Express at Concordia Lutheran in Worcester and John Street Baptist Soup Kitchen in Worcester.

Police in West Boylston are now investigating. However, finding the crook who stole from charity could be tough since there are no surveillance cameras nearby.

The church is concerned about any checks that may have been stolen during the theft. Anyone who did leave a check in the box Sunday is advised to contact their bank. 

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