6-foot menorah stolen in Orange

ORANGE, Calif. The menorah is so big, they think it took more than one person to take it down.

In the middle of the historic traffic circle in Old Towne Orange, sits Santa Claus, a snowman, the nativity scene and lots of decorations. But on the northwest corner of Plaza Park, something is noticeably absent.

"It's sad something like that has to happen," said Greg Lepore, an Orange County resident.

A 6-foot-tall menorah disappeared from the holiday display on Dec. 6.

"It has to be heavy. It was on a metal pole that's dug into the ground. It had to be more than a one man job," said Sgt. Dan Adams, Orange Police Department.

Police say they believe the Hanukkah symbol may have been stolen for its recycling value.

"There's money in recycling metals. There's cash involved for people who need money right now. So, that could very well - possibly - be a motive," said Sgt. Adams.

"The times are really hard. Theft at any time is bad ... Theft of a religious symbol is a bad thing. I'm very relieved if they don't think it's for prejudicial reasons," said Rebecca Beattie, an Orange County resident.

In the mean time, some residents have stepped forward to help. Officials say a substitute menorah, which was built by a couple in Orange for their front yard, will be used for the traditional lighting on Dec. 21.

Police hope someone will come forward with the menorah, or at least with information to find the people responsible. If you can help, call Orange Police (714) 744-7448.

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