MODESTO -- Brian Friend has a sleepless night ahead of him after thieves stole electronic programming equipment that made his spectacular pixel tree work.
The tree is the centerpiece of three nights of rock bands and other festivities on the 10th Street Plaza beginning Thursday night.
Friend is trying to get replacement equipment in place and reprogram the sophisticated software that matches the multi-colored light display with music on his 50-foot tree.
Modesto Police posted a picture of a suspect wearing a safety vest and riding a scooter of some sort.
Friend says he believes the thief or thieves knew what they were looking for because they knew how to break into a walled enclosure and break into a heavy locked storage box.
Friend can’t worry about trying to retrieve his valuable software and equipment now because the show is less than 24 hours away.
“All things happen for a reason. If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it better than I did it before. There’s no choice, I have to do it,” Friend said.
Many people familiar with the light and music show say families enjoy the event and Friend hopes it will become a Christmas tradition in Modesto. That’s more incentive for him to make repairs and get the tree operating again.