“They work all year to get enough money to build the float, then have it taken away like that…it’s taking money from the people, money out of their pockets, I think.”
La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association (LCFTRA) president Ann Neilson spoke with your Tournament of Roses Examiner on Wednesday night about the weekend theft of 1500 feet of insulated copper wire cable, valued at $7,000 to $7,500 from the float building site. The theft happened between 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 and 8 a.m. on Sunday.
The cables are critical to deco week between Christmas and New Year’s, because they are used to power all the electrical under the 210 Freeway overpass where the float is moved on Dec. 26: the front desk, retail area, food tent and lights.
Contrary to reports that appeared immediately following the theft, the only equipment stolen were bolt cutters, which were used to cut the locks on all bins and cargo containers in the yard. They did not take anything from most of the containers.
“The only equipment they took were all of those bolt cutters,” Neilson said. “We had to go around replacing locks on Sunday.”
The refrigerator and freezer, where food is kept for volunteers, are in the cargo container where the bolt cutters were kept. “Wieners, hot dog buns, bags of chips, all the soft drinks that were not diet” were stolen, Neilson said. A self-described “glass half-full” person, she said, “It could have been worse, they could have had a bigger truck and taken more. My thinking is they took what they could get rid of quickly.”
LCFTRA builds their floats in the yard behind two water companies on Hampton Road, Foothill Municipal Water District and Valley Water Company. The yard backs up to the baseball diamond at Flintridge Preparatory School. The entire float operation is outside, with equipment and other supplies being stored in bins and cargo containers on site. It’s thought the burglars came in on foot, got the bolt cutters, and snipped all the locks, including the one on the gate between the baseball field and the yard which is where the truck came in.
With the Rose Parade coming up quickly, the push is on to get the float ready for deco week after Christmas, when the float is moved under the 210 Freeway overpass just south of the yard. People were working until 10 p.m. on Saturday, and on Sunday at 8 a.m., Neilson’s husband showed up for work.
“The first thing he discovered was the cargo bin was open,” she told us. “He right away called the sheriff and they came down to investigate.”
There have been many offers of assistance. “Gelson’s offered to replace all the food that was taken,” she told us. “Many people offered to loan us welding equipment or help us purchase what we needed…. We heard from all the self-builders. They said, if there’s anything we can do to help you, let us know. We even heard from someone at Phoenix Decorating, they said they have extra cables we can use if we need to.”
For now, the biggest need is money. LCFTRA has decided not to borrow equipment, but to replace it as they can. The cables are the biggest concern right now. Readers can go to the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association home page and scroll down a bit, past the rendering of the 2014 float, and click on the big green DONATE button.
Neilson affirms that the LCFTRA volunteers will come through. “Everybody’s biggest concern is, does any part of this slow down work on the float or hinder it in any way? No, it doesn’t. They will just work harder and faster. Work an extra day or two, or an extra hour or two on weekends…. All the volunteers say, what can we do to help? We just say, hit that donate button.”
The theme of the 125th Rose Parade and 100th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2014 is “Dreams Come True.” The Tournament of Roses is a celebration that lasts several weeks in the fall and winter. Like All Things Rose Parade on Facebook or subscribe to Tournament of Roses Examiner by clicking the "Subscribe" link for the latest news and for upcoming announcements. If you have a question or would like a reply to your comment, please post on Facebook or email me at email@example.com