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Menorah removed from Haddonfield park

Sponsored by a Cherry Hill congregation, the Menorah was in the same public park with a Nativity scene erected by a Christian political group.

A Hanukkah symbol erected near secular and sectarian Christmas icons in Haddonfield appears to have been stolen.

The six-foot Menorah was reported  missing from the Library Point park at Haddon Avenue and Tanner Street on Wednesday morning, borough police Chief John Banning said Thursday.

"There's no indication this is a hate crime of any sort, or a bias crime," he said. "We're treating it as a theft."

Although police have not ruled out any motives, Banning said it's possible that scavengers took the Menorah, which is made of aluminum.

"We don't know what happened," borough Commissioner Jeff Kasko said. 'This could be some kids doing a prank. I don't want to jump to any conclusions."

Walking near the park on Thursday morning, Haddonfield resident Chris Higgins said he and his wife, who is Jewish, were "shocked" by the theft.

"We didn't think something like this would happen here," he said.

The borough allows private groups to install religious displays in this prominent public site during the holidays; the Chabad Lubavitch congregation in Cherry Hill has placed a Menorah there for several years.

Earlier this month, the borough commission also authorized an organization called Citizens for a Christian Christmas to place a Nativity scene adjacent to an evergreen decorated with white Christmas lights.