The Christmas tree and 4-foot-tall Santa figure have been perched atop the concrete hopper at Mohr Concrete in Oak Park since 1957, making them “a local landmark,” according to the concrete company’s website. Howard Mohr served as the first mayor of Forest Park, and the other company in the family line, Mohr Oil Co., is still a staple along Harrison Street. But the year-round Christmas decorations are more immediately recognizable.
“Henry ‘Bud’ Mohr never took them down, leading to them becoming part of our tradition,” the Mohr website notes.
But Santa has mysteriously been missing since the week before last, according to Oak Park police. They report the figure was stolen sometime between 8 p.m. on May 22 and 8 a.m. the next day. The estimated loss is $100.
Karen Richards, a principal of Mohr & Sons, said in a telephone interview that it might be an inside job, but she can’t be sure. Asked if there is a reward out for Santa, she laughed, saying, “We could give them 10 bucks or something.”
This is not the first time Santa was stolen, she noted. Over 20 years ago, someone made off with Kris Kringle and even sent a ransom note. Mohr didn’t pay the ransom and Santa was later returned, said Richards, adding that they’re hoping to find video of the theft, but no leads as of yet.
“I’m just upset because he’s gone. It’s part of the thing here,” she said.
The incident comes a little over a month after the Forest Park Review reported that the longtime concrete company ceased selling concrete — they’re only open by appointment for other items like mortar mix, stucco supplies, stone and sewer construction supplies.
Those with information about the Grinch who perpetrated this can contact Mohr Concrete at 708-383-4611. Residents also can contact police at 708-386-3800. Anonymous tips can be provided by calling 708-434-1636 or online at www.oak-park.us/crimetip.