Pascagoula Police: Christmas Tree Bandit arrested; Tree returned

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - "We got our Christmas tree back and it renewed our spirit," Supervisor Jan Jackson said about the return of her store's stolen tree.

Gas-N-Save employees are rejoicing because the tree is back at the Ingalls Avenue store.  Jackson said the return of the tree is the best Christmas present she could have ever received this holiday season.

"I got a call from the Pascagoula Police Department that they had found the prankster who stole our Christmas tree and returned our Christmas tree," Jackson said.

Surveillance footage shows the tree being stolen last week.  Jackson said after the story aired on WLOX, tips started rolling in quickly.

"I started receiving phone calls last night at home and I started receiving them at work."

Those tips from the community led Pascagoula Police to Joshua McQueen.  Police said they arrested McQueen at his home where the tree was set up waiting for Santa.

"I want to say thanks to WLOX for coming to our place of business so promptly and putting it on the air last night.  If it had not been on the air last night, people would not have seen it, and we probably would not have caught him for several days."

Employees said the return of the holiday tree has returned cheer to the gas station and the community.

"This creates the festivity and gets everyone in the up mood, so we are very happy," store owner Paul Clark said.

"I am glad he is caught because nobody should steal Christmas," one store employee said. "It is the spirit of Christmas is what he stole, not just a tree. I'm just glad we got our tree back."

Pascagoula Police recommend that all businesses invest in surveillance equipment to monitor suspicious activities, especially during the holiday season.

2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.