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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –- The Christmas tree is a huge part of many families’ holiday celebrations but to what lengths would you go to get one?

Saturday night 22-year-old Nicholas Stevens, 22-year-old Tyler Brodeur and a 16-year-old minor tried to take advantage of the Optimist Club of Winter Park by stealing three Christmas trees off their lot at Hugh MacRae Park.

“I don’t know if these young men are desperate or if they were taking them home or taking them out to sell them to somebody else to get money for other needs they have I don’t know but it does bother me that young men like this would do things like this,” said Carl Miller, of the Optimist Club.

The three men were charged with first-degree trespassing and misdemeanor larceny. Tyler Brodeur was also charged with carrying a concealed weapon at the time of his arrest.

The circumstances surrounding the robbery have bothered Carl Miller, leader of the Optimist Club.

“You know anybody that needs a tree that bad I think we would donate a tree to anybody that would come here with good cause,” Miller said. “If we really think that they are in dire need of assistance we would give them a small tree.”

Comment on this Story

  • Guest Charity

    Blown out of proportion? It was a fundraiser…for charity…to help children. In addition to whatever fines these thieves will have to pay, they should have to pay an equal amount to the Optimist Club. I would have expected the son of the President of a local metal fabrication company to have better morals than what he has clearly shown.

  • ken

    This seems like its blown way out of proportion? Its a christmas tree? Not a life. If this is what our town depends on for headline news they should be happy its not armed robbery or murder!

  • Guest CommonTater

    News is news… It takes all kinds. Same with folks that post. Is your post worth of being here? hmmm

  • Guest Apu

    It’s a small town, so minor crime often makes the news, especially when the victim is a church or, as is the case here, a children’s charity. If the news only reported on major crimes like armed robbery or murder, they’d wouldn’t even have a newscast on many days. The question you should be asking is “What kind of man steals from children at Christmas?”

  • What????

    Maybe its blown out of proportion to you, but stealing is STEALING. You must be related to one or maybe all 3 of these theives. It may be just a Christmas Tree to YOU, but someone has to eventually PAY for said Tree. And if they will try to steal Trees, they may try armed robbery next, and then get murdered.

  • NHHS Wildcat

    They call it a Christmas tree here but a holiday tree on the other story. which is it WWAY ?

  • M

    Your right it wasn’t murder but stealing a christmas tree from a charity is plain pathetic. I know for a fact Tyler has the means to purchase one and the act of stealing was just for the thrill.

  • Guest Reply

    They must have pointed a gun at them so the trees would leave peacefully :-(

  • Guestaphoics

    What’s a Christmas tree? Surely you mean Holiday Tree. But I thank you for using the traditional name just the same. Thank you so much.

    Holiday tree is the name the exquisitely politically-correct give to the traditional Christmas Tree.

    In fact, these enligtened souls want to change the name of the National Chanakah Menorah to the National Holiday Candle.

    They will stop at nothing.

  • Mike J

    One of them also was charged with possession of a concealed weapon. So, not only are they stealing christmas trees but they have a gun – I guess to make sure nobody gets in their way. I hope they have learned a lesson and if they had not been caught, what would they do next, rob a store?

  • 1981duke

    Our club thanks WWAY for coverage on this issue.
    Please note our club has been selling Christmas Trees and Wreaths at this location since 1955.
    As a club and partner with NHC we are greatfull as the revenues go to numerous youth development programs.
    Such as,
    -The Boys and Girls Home of Lake Waccamaw
    -Childhood Cancer
    -Various youth charities
    -Post High School scholarships for past program participants.
    -Annual Oratorical and Essay contests for youth.
    -Youth Baseball and Softball for kids ages 4-16.

    The revenues from the sale of these Trees and Wreaths is our sole fundraiser.The impact goes back into our community and youth.
    As a club we ALWAYS accomodate anyone’s budgetary situations.
    Our goal in any program is to “help those in need:.
    We value our community,We value our Customers and we have families and generations that have bought there Christmas Trees and Wreaths for many years,and for that we are Thankfull.

    As a volunteer organization we take this seriously and have alot of fun,but it is important to know if “people steal from the Tree Lot they are stealing from our community”.That is the point.
    More details are on club web-page,

    Serving Youth since 1955,and we are gratefull for our community supporting us so we can help others.

    Come out and visit with us at Hugh Macrae Park Lot.

    But please do not steal from us!

  • Guest Reply

    A Chris Holly Tree:

    Yes…the Truth is Out There! All of this fuss over Spaceships!


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