Christmas tree lot adds extra security after thefts

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NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- It's a Christmas tree lot that's been a part of its South Carolina community for the past 45 years.

"Still got a lot of nice big trees left and our medium size trees are going just great this year," Stacey Timmerman said, a member of the North Augusta Optimist Club in Augusta, South Carolina.

But things haven't always been so cheerful for Timmerman and the North Augusta Optimist Club. For the past two years, a Grinch took a little bit of Christmas cheer from the lot. Forty trees were stolen the first year and 25 last year.

"My immediate reaction when I looked around the fence line was, 'Boy we had a big day of sales,'" he said.

So they added locks, gates, cameras and this year a - Christmas helper.

"North Augusta Police Department has done an excellent job of adding extra patrols and its provided a police car down here that gives them a little more of a presence," Timmerman said.

Public Safety doesn't want a dime, just to help the community.

"They've come down to our club on two occasions and talked to us about ways that we can improve the security here," Timmerman said.

So this year, trees will only make it off the lot are if they are bought, trimmed up and packed into people's cars.

"Off to a good start, out of 352 or 55 trees that we purchased, we're at the half way mark right now," he said.

While they still have a couple weeks to go, they feel optimistic.

"We always try to look at it optimistically and I know that's kind of funny to say, we're the optimist club, but the community has always supported us," Timmerman said.

All of the money the Optimist Club makes off of Christmas trees goes to the local community for things like youth recreation teams and college scholarships for some students at North Augusta and Fox Creek High Schools.

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