Grinch torches Virginia Christmas tree

HOPEWELL, Va. — Authorities in Hopewell are searching for the man who torched the city’s Christmas tree on Main Street Thanksgiving morning.

Police and fire crews were dispatched to the Ashford Civic Plaza at 300 North Main Street at 7:30 a.m. after a report that the city’s holiday
tree had been “purposely set ablaze.”

Lt. Michael Langford with Hopewell police said the suspect used a small bottle with gas to start the fire.

Langford told CBS 6 said the blaze was put out and that only a small section of the tree was damaged.

While the damage may appear minimal, officials said the fire may have compromised the lights for the entire display.

The suspect was only described as a male wearing dark-colored clothing who was last seen on Randolph Road and Main Street.

“This senseless act of felony arson and vandalism will not dampen our Holiday spirit or our ‘Light Up the Night’ Holiday event on December 3rd,” Interim City Manager Charles Dane said.

Officials said the incident is being investigated as arson and that detectives are following up on leads.

If you have information that could help investigators, call the Hopewell Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Unit at 804-541-2284. Additionally, any person(s) who have information on this or any other crime in the City of Hopewell may contact the Hopewell/Prince George Crime Solvers hotline at 804-541-2222 or provide a tip via the new P3tips.