CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Christmas is known for the spirit of giving, and it’s very easy to get into that spirit after stepping into the Southern Christmas Show.
The Southern Christmas Show is held at the Park Expo and Conference Center, and every year it brings thousands of people and hundreds of vendors.
But, unfortunately this year one dealer left entirely emptY-handed after someone broke the lock off their trailer and stole it, as well as $30,000 in handcrafted wood art.
“We’ve lost everything we have,” said Karen Jewell. “We’ve lost our livelihood.”
Karen Jewell spoke with Channel 9 by phone Thursday. She and her husband had already traveled back to their home in Delaware after unknown thieves stole their belongings after the first night of the show.
“We came back the next morning, and the lock that was on the hitch was snapped off and lying on the ground. Everything we’ve worked for was just gone,” said Jewell.
Jewell explained handcrafted wood art involves the process of cutting and sanding wood, then placing a picture on it with adhesive and then embellishing it with glass they’ve hand-grinded.
She shared examples of the artwork she and her husband spent months making leading up to the Christmas show in hopes someone may recognize it if the thieves attempt to sell the stolen goods.
Jewell said a large number of the wood art stolen is known as the “Invitation.” The artwork shows the hands of Jesus with a written message. Jewell said she hopes the thieves take the time to read that note.
“I cannot imagine that thief, whoever they were, can possibly look at a picture like that and not feel guilt for what they’ve done,” said Jewell.
“It’s just so sad that people have no respect for the property of other people,” said Sandy Eberhart, who also has a booth at the show.
Eberhart said other vendors were warned about the recent theft.
Management of the Christmas Show said it's agreed to refund the couple’s $1,875 entrance fee.
When questioned, Park Expo officials said the gate was not locked because some vendors stay in the parking lot overnight. The couple hopes to also be refunded the $225 they paid to park at the facility.
“We did our responsibility,” said Jewell. “We locked our trailer. We paid $225 to park in a lot with security and there was none.”
A spokesperson told Channel 9 they’re still in the process of deciding whether they will grant the refund. Monica Wood also said they have Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and security patrol the area throughout the evening and have stepped up patrols as a result of the recent theft.
STATEMENT: We take the security of tenants, partners, staff and property seriously. To our knowledge, within the history of the Southern Christmas Show being held on our property, this is the first time such an incident has occurred.
Since the unfortunate isolated incident, The Park Expo and Conference Center has increased the patrolling frequency as well as our monitoring of the external areas during after hours.
We have and will continue to cooperate with CMPD in their efforts to apprehend the person or persons involved in the theft, so they can be held accountable.
- Statement provided by Monica Wood, Spokesperson, The Park Expo and Conference Center