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What Happened to the Fox Square Christmas Tree Arsonist? It's NYC So...

AP Photo/Richard Drew

On Wednesday, suspect Craig Tamanaha was arrested for allegedly setting the 50-foot Christmas tree in Fox Square on fire, destroying most of it and damaging several other nearby trees.


Fox News security spotted Tamanaha scaling the tree, with one officer tackling him prior to law enforcement and firefighters arriving. The charges against him include reckless endangerment, criminal trespass, arson, and criminal mischief.

According to the New York Post, which is housed in the News Corporation building near the tree along with Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, the suspect has been released without bail thanks to New York’s bail reform law.

According to the suspect’s father, Tamanaha is homeless and has a drug problem.

“Oh, he’s a nut. I can’t control him,” he said, according to the Post. “Mentally, he’s not all there.”

The alleged firebug’s motive remains unclear, though he doesn’t appear to be affiliated with any political groups such as Black Lives Matter or Antifa, law enforcement sources said Wednesday morning.

“It’s an individual that’s known to us — he has a series of low level arrests and drug arrests,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said on WPIX. “He was issued some earlier this year — some appearance tickets and didn’t come back to court, which unfortunately is something we see all too often. He also has some low-level arrests out of state — I believe it’s Texas.”

“I think it’s definitely one where he’s working alone,” Shea added. “That’s what it appears. This is all very fresh … It’s probably a little preliminary to say what the motivation was — was mental illness a factor? We’re looking at all of that and we’ll probably have more to say.”

One law enforcement source blamed Big Apple policies allowing too many troubled mentally ill people to live on the streets.

“It’s just eight years of the [Mayor Bill] De Blasio grift and wasteful spending that let thousands of homeless, emotionally disturbed people roam the streets, left to their own devices,” the source said. (New York Post)


For a bail to have been set, the charges against Tamanaha would've had to include third-degree felony arson criminal defense lawyer Mark Bederow told Fox News.

Update: A new All-American Christmas tree is being installed and a lighting ceremony will take place Thursday during the first block of "The Five." Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said in a statement the new tree is going up quickly as "a sign of resilience and hope in the face of a horrible act.”

Additionally, "both FOX News Media and FOX Corporation have made a $100,000 donation to Answer the Call which provides financial assistance to families of fallen service members of the FDNY and NYPD, the two agencies who responded immediately to our very own emergency," she said.

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