Thief takes 11-year-old's Christmas palm tree

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

By Shavonne Potts

Salisbury Post

It was a chilly night and little did Garrett Yelton know his hours of painstaking attention to this year’s Christmas decorations would not go as planned.

This year, the 11-year-old thought of the family’s outdoor tropical island theme and was excited until a Grinch stole a palm tree from the display.

Leigh Yelton, Garrett’s mother, said sometime Monday night a neighbor spotted someone in their yard in the Glen Heather neighborhood.

Instead of a ramshackled sleigh, this Grinch backed up a pickup and loaded the family’s palm tree away.

“The person was at the end of the road. The neighbor yelled and they took off,” Leigh said.

It took Garrett two days to rig the lighting for the display, which included three palm trees and an inflatable Santa Claus in a hammock.

Colored Christmas lights accented the display — blue for water and white for sand.

Garrett said he discovered the missing palm tree Tuesday afternoon as he was heading to a friend’s house.

“We felt very disappointed that people would do that,” he said.

“It was just disappointing that someone was that thoughtless,” Leigh added.

The theft didn’t discourage the Salisbury family. Leigh said she and her husband will let Garrett decorate in the future.

After all, somebody has to come up with the family’s decorations next year. But don’t call Garrett a decorator. He said he is the family’s “expert in exterior illumination.”

Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or