Manheim Square is all decked out this time of year. One event that many people in Manheim borough look forward to, is the lighting of the Christmas tree. But this year, there was a Grinch in the crowd.
The annual Christmas tree lighting is a fundraiser for the Manheim Downtown Development Group, a non-profit that supports local business owners and promotes downtown.
“We had record crowds here, we had several hundred people here, we had wonderful entertainment,” said Len Bodnar, a Manheim Downtown Development Group board member.
But at the end of the night, a cash box holding $500 to $600 from the event went missing.
“We were just starting to put things into a box and we turned around and the cash box was gone,” Bodnar said. “So whoever took it was able to grab it pretty quickly and just kind of move into the crowd and disappear.”
Joyette Kendig owns “Divine Consign” right on the square. She said it’s a shame that someone would steal from a cherished community event.
“That’s what builds community and that trust, albeit broken somewhat, there were 300, 400 people there that didn’t take anything and that’s ultimately what our community is about,” Kendig said.
Showing some true community and holiday spirit, several business owners in and outside of Manheim have pledged money to help restore the lost funds.
“Folks in this community really pull together,” Bodnar said. “Although it is disappointing, it just boils, it comes down to one person did what they did. The rest of us still had a good time.”
Manheim borough police are investigating the theft, but Bodnar said if someone would just bring back the money, the group would take it back, no questions asked.
If you have any information about the theft of the cashbox, you can contact Manheim Police at (717) 665-2481 or the Manheim Downtown Development Group at (717) 665-1762.