For the first time in the history of Rotary Lights in La Crosse, someone has stolen equipment used for the holiday lighting display in Riverside Park.
Pat Stephens, the president of Rotary Lights, says large power cords were cut from several electrical pedestals that have been taken to the park, to set up the multi-million light display scheduled to open Nov. 26.
The thefts happened both Saturday and Sunday, and Stephens says wire dealers have been asked to look out for people wanting to trade in copper electric wiring for cash. The stolen wires are valued at about $10,000.
Stephens posted this message on the Rotary Lights Facebook page:
“For 26 years the Rotary Lights Project has always taken pride in the fact that there has never been any vandalism or theft in Riverside Park. That all changed last weekend [Oct. 23-24, 2021].
About 70 electrical pedestals were moved to the park last Friday to begin the process of lighting the park. On both Saturday and Sunday evenings vandals cut the cords on many of those pedestals. It was assumed they wanted to take the cords with the hope that the copper content would be worth some kind of monetary award. Replacement cords are $2.00 per foot so our loss could be close to $10,000. We have alerted all wire dealers in a wide area of La Crosse to be on the lookout for anyone trying to cash cords in for gain.
“We are working closely with the La Crosse Police Department, have filed formal reports, and are in the process of checking any and all security cameras that service the park area. Our security group that usually monitors the park starting in November, have been called in early in hopes of eliminating any further damage. If we identify the perpetrators, we will prosecute to the full extent of the law.
“Rotary Lights has the special mission of “feeding the hungry”. We ask for the community’s help in keeping an eye on the park and to make note of any suspicious activity. As a community we can restore the pride that we will not have vandalism or stealing that in reality takes away from the Rotary Lights mission.
“If you or anyone you know has information relating to this incident, please call the La Crosse Police Department at (608) 782-7575 or Pat Stephens at (608) 784-9993.”