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Christmas trees alongside Carefree Highway vandalized


Tara Alatorre

PHOENIX – Christmas trees displayed along the Carefree Highway have been vandalized for the second time after a group of residents replaced a vandalized tree with four more decorated trees this last Sunday.

The first Christmas tree was put up and decorated by resident Jeremy Krause and his daughter on Sunday, Nov. 19, but by Tuesday, the tree had been snapped in half and vandalized, and by Wednesday, it was gone, according to a story reported by ABC15 News.

Locals went to Facebook to vocalize their disappointment about the destroyed tree, and a group of Cave Creek residents resolved that they would not just replace the one tree, but put up multiple trees, according to several posts on the Cave Creek Facebook page.

Krause and a group of locals who call themselves the “Caretree Highway Crew” put up four more trees just west of 7th Avenue on the Carefree Highway this past Sunday. However, by Monday morning, residents were already reporting on Facebook that one of the trees had been vandalized again.

Residents were also reporting that Phoenix Police had been seen stopped on the highway in the area, because an anonymous person had reported the trees to the city.

Krause was actually contacted by Phoenix Police on Sunday night because one of the trees was technically in the highway’s right-of-way, so it was likely that it would be removed. Then sometime late Sunday night, one of the trees was vandalized again, he said.

“After one got vandalized again last night [Sunday] I moved it over against the barbwire about half a mile east of where it was out of the traffic right-of-way, and against the fence that borders state parks land,” said Krause in an interview with The Foothills Focus.

As of press time, all four Christmas trees are still standing and Cave Creek residents seems to be fully supportive of the seasonal display, with residents happily reporting their tree sightings on social media.

“If they get vandalized again we will just relocate to another spot,” Krause said. “We are already talking to a couple of people about placing them on their private property that sits against Carefree Highway.”

The private property is basically in the same spot where the trees are located now and could be easily viewed by the highway without having them located in the traffic right-of-way.

Krause says the response has been pretty amazing and positive overall, and he hopes that it will become a tradition for the whole community.