‘Grinch’ steals 100 Christmas trees from Gresham church

Crime

The money made from the trees was supposed to help a nonprofit recovery program

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The “Grinch” made an early appearance in Gresham this year, according to police.

The “Grinch” in question stole a van with a flatbed trailer attached along with up to 100 Christmas trees from the Family Worship Center on West Powell Boulevard in Gresham. The suspect struck sometime late Monday night or Tuesday morning.

The Christmas trees are valued between $,5000 and $7,000. The money was intended to help a nonprofit recovery program called Pacific Northwest Adult and Teens Challenge.

Surveillance video captured by a business across the street shows a box truck pull into the parking lot of the church. It leaves a few minutes later, following a van pulling a trailer. Gresham police said the vehicles could be connected to the theft.

“All the proceeds go back in to help support the program,” said Michael Odell. “It costs about $2,500 a month to house a student in our program. Because we are a nonprofit, we don’t turn anybody away for the inability to pay.”

Police expect the suspect is planning on reselling the trees. The stolen trees will be easy to spot as they are marked with “Kirk Farms” tags and the group is the only one selling trees grown at that farm.

The suspect also took a tent, tables, chairs, extension cords and lights. The stolen van and trailer belong to the Family Worship Center.

“If we can’t keep our doors open, then the men and women who need help with drug addiction can’t receive the help,” Odell said.

A Kirk Farm tag on a Christmas tree, Nov. 27, 2019. (KOIN)

He’s trying to stay in the holiday spirit despite the loss.

“Being the holiday season, if they catch these guys, we just want them to know we forgive them, we love them and if they do need help, give us a call,” said Odell.

The van is a white 2002 Ford Econoline E350 with a flatbed trailer attached. The license plate is 643DPM. If anyone sees the van or has any information, please call the Gresham PD tipline at 503.618.2719.

People can still buy trees at the Family Worship Center in Gresham or at Sunnyside Foursquare Church in Clackamas.

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