For the past nine years, the holiday season has inspired Anthony Orlandino to put a “Happy Birthday, Jesus” sign in front of his Algonquin barbershop — his way of telling patrons, pedestrians and motorists his true meaning of Christmas.
Police say it's likely the holiday season also inspired someone to steal the sign.
The sign had been up about two weeks in front of Anthony's Barbershop before someone stole it between Monday and Tuesday.
Orlandino, 64, who said he has rarely missed a service at Willow Creek Community Church in the past 30 years, is frustrated about the greed that surrounds the holiday. He's also upset that many people say “happy holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”
He said many people have lost sight of the meaning of Christmas, and his sign was a way to remind the public of the reason for the season.
“I loved that sign, primarily because of what it represented,” Orlandino said. “We've commercialized Christmas so much that it's no longer a religious event, it's a secular event. We go out and spend money on presents for other people and I just wanted to remind people what Christmas is all about.”
The sign was between 7 and 8 feet long and two feet wide, with black letters. Orlandino had it specially made and paid several hundred dollars.
“I am so, so upset over this,” Orlandino said. “Right after all this stuff in Connecticut we get the morons stealing 'Happy Birthday, Jesus' signs. What's wrong with people? What's wrong with our world?”
Most likely, the theft is probably a case of juvenile mischief inspired by the holiday season, Algonquin Deputy Police Chief Steve Kuzynowski said.
“Basically, during the Christmas season, we have Christmas decorations taken periodically,” Kuzynowski said. “It's probably somebody playing a prank, but at this point, we have no information on the suspect.”
Orlandino admits that the theft has killed some of his Christmas spirit, but he won't let the vandals get to him.
“You pick up the pieces and keep on moving,” he said. “I'll probably buy another sign for next year.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.