Thieves target charity box 3 times at Ohio family’s popular holiday lights display


Alison Matas, Canton Repository - The Columbus Dispatch (TNS)



MASSILLON — The house on Amberwood Circle NE with thousands of Christmas lights attracts visitors from all over Ohio for nearly a month during the holiday season.

And last Christmas, the Sturm family used their display’s popularity to raise $2,700 for a student who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

But in 2019, the donation box was stolen from the Sturm house three times, prompting the family to stop collecting money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“The plan is we’re going to continue with the light display, but I’m done helping the thieves,” Holly Sturm said.

The Sturm family doesn’t know how much money was stolen each time the box was taken but estimates between $100 to $150 was taken on two of the nights and between $200 to $300 was taken during the week of Christmas.

The Sturms called the police to file a report the first time money was taken. The third time, they reached out to The Canton Repository in hopes that reading about the theft might inspire the people who stole to do the right thing.

Even though the family has stopped collecting donations this year, they want to try again next Christmas — this time using a more secure method.

The Sturms have three children, and the kids look forward to waking up in the morning and counting the money left overnight.

“It’s just a nice family thing,” Sturm said. “I feel like we’re teaching our kids that you give to your community. You give to the world.”

The lights are on from 5:30 p.m. to midnight every night until Jan. 6 at 2345 Amberwood Circle NE in Massillon. The display has a light show set to music, which can be accessed via radio station 88.3 or listened to using the speakers set up in the yard.

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Alison Matas, Canton Repository

The Columbus Dispatch (TNS)

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