BENNINGTON -- At approximately 8:15 p. m. on Saturday, the Bennington Police Department received a report that someone had stolen a Christmas tree from the Norshaft Lions Club's Christmas tree sales, located at the Bennington Chamber of Commerce. The citizen who reported the crime said they witnessed two people in a gold colored vehicle, with a Vermont license plate, back up to the display of Christmas trees and put one in their trunk, before pulling out of the lot. According to the witness, the vehicle then travelled to the Kmart plaza, where two people exited the vehicle, put a blanket on top of the car, and secured the tree on top of the blanket. Bennington police ran the registration and found the vehicle belonged to Dee Morse, 35, of Bennington.
Upon arriving at the scene, a neighbor informed police that Morse had offered to sell them a Christmas tree for $20, and that she was on her way home with the tree for the neighbor to purchase.
During this time, Morse and the vehicle were located in the Walmart parking lot, with a large tree affixed to the top of the vehicle, police said. Morse denied making a deal with anyone for the tree, and indicated that the tree was for herself. Moore also told police that she believed the trees at the location were free, as there was no sign indication pricing and the trees weren't tied down. Morse was arrested and charged with petit larceny, and is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 23.
According to a BPD press release, the NorShaft Lions Club charges $35 for their trees. The club has been selling Christmas trees in Bennington since the early 1980s, with proceeds benefitting community betterment in North Bennington, and Shaftsbury, as well as helping those in need purchase glasses and hearing aids. The location is manned by members of the club during the day, but the trees are left at the location overnight.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB.