Theft of speakers at Light Up Middletown ‘very frustrating,’ costly, official says

Organizers hope to have the speakers replaced this week, says Bill Becker, a member of Grandpa Gang.

Light Up Middletown volunteers are scrambling to replace three speakers that were stolen over Thanksgiving weekend, an organizer said.

Two of the four speakers that provide Christmas music at the holiday lights display were stolen between 11:30 p.m. Nov. 24, when volunteers left Smith Park, and the morning of Nov. 25, said Bill Becker, a member of the Grandpa Gang that maintains the displays.

Then, he said, another speaker was stolen Sunday night.

“This is very frustrating that somebody would do this,” Becker, a retired Middletown police chief, told the Journal-News.

He estimated the value of the three speakers that were attached to 10-foot poles at $1,800. He said people have donated money to purchase new speakers and he hopes to have them installed this week. The speakers were located near Santa’s workshop and the soccer building, Becker said.

He said organizers are considering adding some type of security to the park.

Light Up Middletown has been a target of vandalism in the past, Becker said. Also, he said, high winds have knocked down some of the light displays.

But he called the most recent theft the “worst” Light Up Middletown has experienced in its 23 years.

“Pure greed” is how he described the theft.

The drive-through holiday lights display is open from 6-10 p.m. every night through New Year’s Eve. Donations are accepted at the front gate and proceeds are used to purchase light displays and upgrade the city park.

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