Star stolen from big Idaho Xmas tree found, with $100 bill

BOISE, Idaho — The star atop a giant Christmas tree in Boise that was stolen before dawn on New Year's Day by someone who scaled the tree has been found, officials said Thursday.

A $100 bill was taped to the damaged star wrapped in a garbage bag next to a building, said Downtown Boise Association Executive Director Lynn Hightower.

The star disappeared from the 30-foot (9-meter) tree in downtown Boise at 3 a.m. on New Year's Day with the apparent crime captured on video provided to KTVB-TV. Branches are seen swaying in the footage, and then the lighted star goes dark.

Hightower said a person emailed her late Wednesday, saying the theft was "a bad idea in the name of good fun but went too far."

"They apologized and asked how they could return it," Hightower said.

She emailed back that the person should contact police.

Boise police spokeswoman Haley Williams said an officer received an anonymous email Thursday morning providing star's location.

"It sounds like the person was regretful," she said.

Hightower said the star was damaged and must be repaired or replaced. The Christmas tree is scheduled to come down within two weeks so the star won't be put back on top of it this winter.

The tree at its base ahead of Christmas had donation for the Women's and Children's Alliance, an organization that helps people dealing with domestic abuse and sexual assault. Hightower said the $100 taped found with the star will be given to the group.

She said her group is willing to let the incident go at this point.

"The tree is a symbol of peace and goodwill," she said. "If the person who took the star found that spirit in giving back the star, then the best thing for us is to share that spirit."

But police said their investigation will be forwarded to prosecutors.

Williams said there are no suspects and it's not clear whether the person who emailed about the start took it.

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