Christmas tree seller stays on site at night to prevent theft

Christmas tree seller stays on site at night to prevent theft

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - By day, Tiffany Haley sells Christmas trees in a parking lot off 17 Bypass near Highway 22, but by night, she watches out from a shed to make sure nobody steals her trees.

"I'm actually on top of it this year. It's not going to happen," she said. "If I have to stay up every night, I guess that's what I'll have to do."

Haley started selling Christmas trees when she was 12 years old and began selling them on the Grand Strand when she moved here in 2001.

She has been in the lot off 17 Bypass for four years now. She said she's experienced issues with theft every year until now because she's staying on site in a shed at night watching from a window in the loft. She calls it "Christmas camping."

"I think I got them outwitted this year," said Tiffany Haley.

Haley said she's lost up to 50 Christmas trees each year, usually several at a time, and always at night.

"It really is devastating because I go up there and I tag my own trees and I do all my own work to them," Haley said. "Each tree is kind of like a puzzle piece putting them in. It's usually my big, tall 14-footers that are taken."

Haley also has cameras watching the activity going on.

"What kind of person steals Christmas? Who does that?" she said.

She said the majority of her sales are from repeat customers, so they are the main reason she continues to come back.

"It's about them. It's something they count on and it's being a part of their Christmas," she said.

A broken shoulder almost kept Haley from opening her Christmas tree stand this year, but she's committed to her business, annual tradition and her customers. So she brought on help to lift the trees for her.

"I can't give this up," she said. "It's not just about making money. It's about making memories, too. My customers post pictures of their trees when they get it decorated," she said.

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