SAN JOSE (KPIX) — The South Bay’s biggest holiday celebration appears to have fallen victim to thieves after someone robbed ornaments off a tree at Christmas in the Park in San Jose that had its decorations sponsored by a local Satanic group.
The crime happened just two days after the tree went up with the thieves apparently targeting a specific tree.READ MORE: San Francisco Serial Shoplifting Suspect Charged With 15 Counts, Faces Arraignment Wednesday
The tree targeted was decorated with pentagrams and other demonic symbols, its decorations sponsored by a Bay Area Satanic organization.
Some may wonder why a Satanic group would have a decorated tree at a holiday display like Christmas in the Park, but not the organizers of the event or the people who set up the tree.
Bay Area Satanist Simone Chavoor and her friend Tabitha spent Wednesday afternoon sprucing up the tree that was recently robbed.
The group decorated the tree on Black Friday, complete with an elaborate goat head as a tree topper.
Two days, later the topper and other satanic ornaments had vanished.
The Satanists filed a police report, but declined to file it as a hate crime.
“It could be anything from kids, to people who don’t agree with our viewpoint to people who are actually in agreement with us and think that our ornaments are cool,” said Chavoor, a member of a local Satanic Temple as well as the independent group Satanic Bay Area, which sponsored this tree’s decorations.READ MORE: Santa Clara County Approves $750,000-Expansion For Domestic Abuse Program
There are more than 500 trees at Christmas in the Park which have been decorated by schools, sports teams and organizations of all kinds.
But it appears that the Satanic temple’s tree was the only one targeted this time.
“It happens every year that one tree will get its ornaments stolen. We encourage people not to put ornaments on the trees that they think people will want to take,” said Jason Minsky with Christmas in the Park. “We encourage people to tie the ornaments to the tree so that they are harder to take.”
The satanic tree is just down the sidewalk from a nativity scene which has also had its figures stolen over the years.
To some people, the close juxtaposition of Christian and Satanic symbols at a community Christmas event is no big deal.
“It’s freedom of speech and religion,” said San Jose resident Grant Talarico. “So as far as I’m concerned the tree is fine.”
Others said the Satanic tree could be offensive given the location.
“I’m not Christian, but I’m sure some people would be offended because Christmas is a Christian holiday. And this seems like anti, since they have an upside down cross and everything,” said Jag Jit of San Jose.MORE NEWS: Man Involved In 2020 San Francisco Police Standoff Shot Dead in City's Bayview District
It is the second straight year that a Satanic group’s Christmas in the Park decorations have been stolen or vandalized. Satanic Bay Area says its members will keep a close watch on the tree over the rest of the holiday period.