A group of University of Wisconsin freshmen were forced to return a Christmas tree they stole Friday afternoon.
The tree, which was reported to weigh 150 pounds, was stolen from the 500 block of N. Frances St by a group of UW freshmen men sometime last week, according to a Madison Police Department incident report.
The tree was placed there as a part of Shine on Madison, an effort by the Madison Central Business Improvement District to decorate the downtown area with lights and other trappings in preparation for the holiday season.
From security cameras near the tree, the thieves were identified as a group of UW freshmen boys. MCBID did not pursue criminal charges against them.
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Instead, Madison Police Department officers ordered the boys to move the $400 tree back to its original spot on N. Frances St.
No charges were filed against the freshmen, who claimed the entire ordeal was meant to be a prank.
In the creatively written incident report stylized in the form of the famous “‘Twas a Night Before Christmas,” an officer informed the freshmen of the $691 fee which accompanies theft citations and encouraged them to make better choices in the future.