TAFT, Calif. (KERO) — The Historic Fort in Taft has been a landmark in Kern County since 1938. Nowadays, it’s used as a venue for events and weddings, especially near the holidays. However this year, they’re lacking in spirit after thieves broke in and stole their Christmas decorations.
“It was a mess. A total mess,” said Edith Laurin.
On Friday morning, Laurin arrived to the Fort ready to take on her everyday duties as executive director. The day took a turn though when she walked to the back of their property and saw the Seatrains containing their Christmas decorations were broken into.
“We usually start decorating right after Thanksgiving and try to make is as festival as we can here,” she said. “We like to show off our fort when we can and it’s going to be a little sad this year.”
The Fort is a nonprofit now in the northwest side of the Taft and covers nearly three acres. Located inside are offices that they rent out to local businesses and the West Kern Adult School. However, they get most of their funds through events which makes this act of burglary even more upsetting.
“We have a couple of weddings coming up in December and I haven’t notified the them about the decorations yet,” Laurin said.
Laurin estimated around $7,000 worth of decorations were either taken or destroyed.
“It’s just unfortunate, it’s unfortunate because there’s really nothing we can do,” said Stacey Falgout, program director for the West Kern Adult School.
The Fort’s had some concerns in the past with vandals, but never anything like this.
“When I first walked up, there were pieces of the fake greenery and broken ornaments and lights,” Laurin said. “You can said see some ribbons and a few different things but most everything was picked up. There was a lot of trash from the trees.”
In total they had 12 Christmas trees stolen, along with nearly all their lights, ornaments, and wreaths. The thieves taking all the Christmas cheer, leaving behind plenty of evidence in the dirt.
“Being such a vision in the community and being a target has really happened our vision for the holidays,” said Falgout.
The Historic Fort is located at 915 N. 10th Street in Taft. To reach out to the Fort, you can call (661) 765-7371.