Chads, Madelyns sought for questioning by detectives

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It was almost a Christmas miracle.

No giant holiday ornaments or decorations were stolen or damaged through the first 30 days of December around downtown Milledgeville, which would've marked the first Christmas in recent downtown history without any ornament-related thefts and arrests.

Then came New Year's Eve, however, when one of the giant holiday balls was removed and stolen from in front of the courthouse. Security video from the courthouse shows a man carrying the ball north along Wilkinson Street before hoisting it over his shoulder, walking alongside two other men and a group of women.

The giant ball was property of the county government, and now the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office is asking the public for help, releasing a series of security photos.

"The Baldwin County Sheriffs Office would appreciate your assistance in helping to identify anyone in these photographs. On New Year’s Eve, one of the Christmas decorations was stolen from the front of the Courthouse, wrote the Sheriff's Office in a public release. "We are reviewing video footage from the downtown area as well so…while this may seem minor to some, it is theft. If you have information, please contact the Sheriffs Office at 478-445-5823 or the non emergency line at 478-445-4893."

Carlee Schulte, executive director of Milledgeville MainStreet, says that the ornaments and decorations "certainly are not cheap and easy to replace."

“(The decorations) are a big part of what we do, and it’s a downtown tradition,” she said. “I just hope that get to the point where (the vandalisms will) stop happening.”

Over the years, without questions, the five-foot-tall ceramic toy soldiers have received the most drunken late-night attention, with the giant balls coming in a distant second. Between 2017 and 2020 same blue toy soldier was roughed up and dismembered three times in four years.

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