Officers say someone stripped electrical wires off the Norwegian Spruce at Linn Park about 4 a.m. Wednesday, then started a fire. Police believe thieves were attempting to separate the copper wire from the plastic insulation on Christmas decorations.
But the fire spread to the tree, engulfing it in flames. Public works crews later used heavy machinery to remove the blackened limbs and trunk.
Parks director Melvin Miller said the tree wouldn't be replaced, but a radio station donated a new one within hours.