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Lake Phalen holiday lights dimmed by copper thief

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Organizers of a holiday light display at Phalen Park in St. Paul say a Grinch is on the loose.

Thieves have stolen electrical cords from the display three times in the past week, presumably for the copper. One cord worth about $2,500 was taken Thursday. Another 100-feet of cord disappeared Wednesday, but police found it on a street corner where thieves may have left it to be picked up later.

Police are stepping up patrols in the area, according to Vicki Sandberg. She's with the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which has organized the event since 2008 to send money to local charities. 

"There are security cameras throughout Lake Phalen and they are going to be positioning those cameras to be focused on our event," she said. There will also be more police squad cars in the area, and  the neighborhood is being encouraged to keep an eye out.

"The amount of copper they can get from that is very insignificant, but the amount of value that those cords have to our event is extremely significant, and we need those to operate," she said. "So that they would want to take away from the charity and the people coming out here with their families to enjoy the holiday is very discouraging."