Fox News Christmas Tree suspect Craig Tamanaha

Man Who Burned Down Fox News Christmas Tree FREED Without Bail

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By Kristin Myers on December 10, 2021 at 5:35 PM EST

On December 8, a man tried to burn down the Fox Christmas tree.

As The Blast previously pointed out, the tree is not actually a tree. Instead, it’s a 50-foot “metal superstructure” meant to resemble a tree. Even still, the festive holiday decoration took more than 21 hours to assemble and contained more than ten thousand glass ornaments and over one hundred thousand lights.

On Wednesday morning around 12:15 AM, a man allegedly climbed to the top of the superstructure and lit some papers he brought with him on fire before stuffing them into the tree. Local security guards were able to point the suspect out to police, who then arrested Craig Tamanaha, 49, who stayed at the scene to watch the tree burn.

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The fire, which spread to nearby holiday decorations as well, was estimated to cost about $500,000 in damages.

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Tamanaha Known To Police, Has A Criminal Record

Tamanaha is homeless with a last known address in Brooklyn. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said that they believe Tamanaha acted alone and considered mental illness to be a factor.

“The motive I don’t think is clear at this point,” he explained. “It’s an individual that is known to us. He has a series of low-level arrests and drug arrests. He was issued earlier this year some appearance tickets and didn’t come back to court, which unfortunately is something we see all too often. Also has some low-level arrests out of state.”

He has three prior arrests: two for drug possession and one for public intoxication. He had been charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, arson, criminal nuisance, endangering others, criminal trespass, criminal tampering, and disorderly conduct.

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Alleged Christmas Tree Suspect Freed Without Bail

Many members of the public are concerned after authorities revealed that Tamanaha was released without bail. Prosecutors also reduced the number of charges against him from seven to three.

He was arraigned on charges of felony second-degree criminal mischief, misdemeanor second-degree reckless endangerment, and misdemeanor fifth-degree arson.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office did not comment on why the charges against the alleged arsonist were reduced. Tamanaha could face a maximum of two to seven years behind bars if he is convicted. He is due back in court on January 4.

According to court papers, Tamanaha told Detective Matthew Demaio that he had been “thinking about lighting the tree on fire all day long.”

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As he exited the courtroom, Tamanaha allegedly told reporters that “I didn’t do it” before he started shouting obscenities, including “The moms that want to r--- their f---ing daughters, they set it on fire.” He then asked reporters for a cigarette.

According to Fox News, freelance photographer Jeenah Moon saw Tamanaha expose himself on November 29, outside the courthouse of the Ghislaine Maxwell trial. According to Moon, “He was acting weird and pulled down his pants.” Police escorted him away but did not arrest Tamanaha for indecent exposure.

In the meantime, Fox has already recreated the burned-down Christmas tree and held a new tree-lighting ceremony for the All-American Christmas Tree approximately 24 hours after it was first destroyed.

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