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Auction item stolen from Festival of Trees in Sandy, but donor still gives $1,700

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A centerpiece stolen from the Festival of Trees in Sandy. Image courtesy Kaye Rasmussen.

SANDY, Utah — The Festival of Trees enjoyed record-high attendance this year, but the festival also experienced a darker first in its 46-year history after someone stole an auction item.

Kaye Rasmussen, chairwoman of the executive board for Festival of Trees, said a centerpiece valued at $1,700  in the charity auction was stolen Saturday night around 10 p.m., right before closing time.

Fortunately, the bidder who purchased the centerpiece decided to contribute the $1,700 to Primary Children’s Hospital even without receiving the item. Still, Rasmussen said they have turned surveillance footage over to Sandy police and are hopeful the piece can be recovered.

The Festival of Trees features trees and centerpieces, all of which are auctioned off to benefit Primary Children’s Hospital. After they are purchased, the Centerpieces are left on display until the festival ends.

Rasmussen said this is the first time in their 46 years that someone has stolen an auction item.

A record 101,000 people attended the festival this year, and Rasmussen said this year they auctioned off 1,500 items, including 700 trees. Rasmussen said they are grateful for the generous community that makes the annual event possible.

For more information about the festival, visit their website.