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Grinch arrested for stealing Readstown Christmas tree
damaged tree stand
A broken tree stand was all that remained after Jerry Wilder Jr. allegedly stole the village of Readstown's Christmas tree Nov. 26. - photo by Vernon County Sheriffs Office photo

A 19-year-old Readstown man with a prior criminal record was arrested Dec. 5 for stealing the village’s Christmas tree.

According to the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office in Viroqua, Jerry Wilder Jr. removed the tree from a gazebo in Memorial Park during the early morning hours of  Nov. 26. and left a note saying, “The Grinch was here.” A tree stand was damaged.

Wilder  confessed to the theft Dec. 5 while being interviewed by authorities. He has been referred to the Vernon County District Attorney’s office for charges.

According to the Vernon County Broadcaster of Viroqua, its check of the Wisconsin Circuit Court database revealed that Wilder was previously convicted of disorderly conduct in Iowa County and has had nine traffic or criminal misdemeanor citations since September 2012. He has lived previously in Viola and Avoca.

The case is under investigation by both the Sheriff’s Office and Readstown Police Department.