Despite the decades of selling Burbank households their Christmas trees, Gary Casella this year got a big lump of coal after thieves broke into his trailer and stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment, uncashed checks and his pickup truck.
Never mind that this all happened around the same time he was recovering from a blood clot in his leg. Taken together, it's not exactly a shining holiday memory Casella will be left with when he leaves Burbank to return to Washington.
It's certainly time for one of those collective "We're sorry, this is embarrassing, Burbank's not really like that" moments, especially to someone who, over the years, has donated roughly $500,000 to Burbank High School alone — a lot by any standard, but especially for someone who doesn't live here.
Surely, Burbank police detectives are on the case, and hopefully they'll be able to deliver a belated Christmas gift to Casella by catching the thieves and recovering some or all of his stolen property. But with just one week left before Christmas Day, hopefully this community will rally and support Casella the way he's supported us all these years.
His lot is still plugging away, trying to sell as many trees as possible and recover from a devastating loss. It's at 455 Front St. If you don't have a tree yet, think about stopping by. And even if you do, we're sure Casella could use a visit and show of support as he works to regain some of his lost Christmas cheer.