GERMANTOWN, Md. (WJLA) - The menorah is a sign of faith, but in this case, it is also a symbol of a bond for the Robin family.
"Every time a year we put it out. everybody tells us how much they love it," says Ellen Robin.
"I enjoyed building it. I enjoyed taking it out every year," adds Nelson Robin.
Ellen says it took months of research and hours of tweaking to create the computer-controlled menorah made out of PVC pipes.
"It meant a lot to me, not only for the holiday but as symbolism of a bond between my dad and me," says Rachael Robin, who was was eight years old when she and her dad built the menorah.
The structure is five-feet tall with lights that dance, and was a prime display on the front lawn of the Robins’ Germantown home.
"It won't fit in a car or an SUV -- you would need a pick up truck," says Nelson.
But that apparently didn’t stop thieves from snatching the menorah.
The Robins think it was taken Christmas Eve Day, and after they realized it was missing, they started searching and reaching out to neighbors through list-servs and social media.
Later, it was discovered that the menorah had been dumped in another neighborhood altogether, left in pieces.
"It's all banged up and you can see how the pipe was cut and the cables were exposed," describes Ellen.
The Robin family is hoping that the whole thing was someone playing a prank, and that it wasn’t a hate crime – but they aren’t sure.
At this point, they don’t know if they’ll rebuild or start from scratch; but one thing is certain – there will be a bigger and better menorah on the front yard of this Germantown home.