A Satanic group in California is pleading for people to stop stealing from its public Christmas display at a local park.
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Satanic Bay Area said it decorated a tree with pentagrams and other demonic symbols on Black Friday as a part of the annual Christmas in the Park festival in San Jose, but most of the ornaments were gone by the end of the weekend.
"I got the message late Monday saying that an awful lot of ornaments were missing," said Daniel Walker, one organizer with the Satanic Bay Area, told ABC News' Brad Mielke for the ABC News daily news podcast, "Start Here." "When our friend went by to check on it, in fact, she had to go to the backside of the tree and take a lot of the ornaments off of there and put them back on front to fill in the gaps."
The group isn't sure if they're being targeted out of admiration or hate, but Walker said it's not uncommon for decorations to mysteriously vanish.
"Some people might be doing it antagonistically -- we don't know," Walker said. "I do suspect though that some people are probably doing it because they like the tree and they like the ornaments and they think this is kind of funny."
"If I wanted to sabotage somebody's Christmas tree," he added, "I wouldn't steal one ornament. I'd push the whole thing over. Break all of the ornaments, or I'd spray paint Jesus on the front."
Satanic Bay Area describes itself as "an atheistic Satanist community serving San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area region" whose members don't necessarily worship the devil, according to its website.
"When we do something like Christmas in the Park we're not saying you should be a Satanist -- what we are saying is, we are satanists and we're here," he said. "And, you know what, you probably meet us every day and don't think twice about it."
Walker said fellow Satanists in the area volunteered to donate new handmade ornaments to replace the stolen ones, and he's working on a plan to keep them from disappearing.
The group noted in a press release that it might have to "put some kind of curse on the new ones -- or maybe just stick something gross on the backside," but Walker said it was just a joke.
"There will be no black magic curses of any kind," he said. "I wish there was a way I wish there was a way to prevent this, but now it's a fact of life."
This report was featured in the Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, episode of ABC News' Daily news podcast, "Start Here."
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