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Christmas tree stolen from fallen police officer's gravesite

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A small Christmas tree placed at the grave of fallen St. Paul police officer Josh Lynaugh was swiped by a thief (or thieves), leaving his parents and the community in shock.

The Stillwater Current reports the tree – which has string of blue LED lights – was likely taken from Lynaugh's grave in Stillwater's Fairview Cemetery between 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 and 1 p.m. Nov. 21.

The tree was initially placed there by Lynaugh's parents as a way to honor their son for the holiday season, ABC 6 reports.

Lynaugh died in February of 2013 after suffering a heart attack while chasing a suspect in St. Paul.

He caught up to and arrested the man, put him into the patrol vehicle, but suddenly became ill, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Lynaugh was hospitalized and died eight days later from the apparent heart attack.

According to KARE 11, a photo of Josh Lynaugh that was set in the tree was tossed on the ground and stepped on. ABC 6 says a badge with Lynaugh's number on it – 686 – was also thrown aside. The station says Lynaugh's was the only gravesite vandalized.

WCCO says Lynaugh's family visits the site every day; they've replaced the tree for now.

Stillwater police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 651-351-4945.

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