HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — A Highlands Ranch family says they’ve had their Christmas decorations destroyed by vandals for a third year.
Like many families, the Sappenfields have their annual holiday traditions from hanging ornaments to hanging up lights on the outside of their house.
“We have always put lights out in front and some decorations, as well as inside of the house,” Andy Sappenfield said. “We try to line the roof line with lights and we put lights out on the bushes and we’ve had some of the stand-up decorations in the past.”
He doesn’t consider his outside decorations the most extravagant but says they’re enough to put the family in the holiday spirit.
“It’s for the benefit of others, so just trying to spread some holiday cheer,” Sappenfield said.
However, a few years ago after the family put up the decorations, a vandal visited their house.
“The first year, we had lights out on our bushes that were cut and we kind of just chalked it up to somebody just being a normal kid or something, doing a little vandalism,” Sappenfield said.
The family didn’t make much of it, so they tossed the lights, bought some new ones and decided to decorate again the next year. Then, the same thing happened.
“So then we started to think, ‘Okay, well maybe it’s not such a coincidence,’ and it made us a little hesitant to put anything out this year.”
The Sappenfields decided, though, that they didn’t want to let a Scrooge ruin their holiday spirit, so they decided to take the risk and decorate again this year.
“We had a Christmas penguin and a snowman that were illuminated and they stood up by metal rods and someone had come over and snapped the rods,” he said.
The family had those lawn decorations for about 10 years before the vandals destroyed them.
After the third incident, the family put up a post on social media about what happened. Some of their neighbors responded, saying they’re angry for the family. Other neighbors posted saying they had experienced similar incidents with vandals cutting their light cords or destroying or stealing decorations.
One neighbor said her decorations and six of her neighbors all had their cords cut last year.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says unfortunately, this type of vandalism happens every year and it can be difficult to catch the culprits without evidence like surveillance video.
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office doesn’t believe there is a rise in these types of crimes this year but says many people choose not to report them.
DCSO encourages homeowners who experience some type of vandalism to report the crime, even if the decorations are not worth a lot of money so that they can keep track of the amount of vandalism happening every year and possibly spot problem areas to keep an eye on.
They also encourage homeowners to try to secure decorations in a way that will not be easy for thieves to steal.
Next year, the family says they are just going to put their decorations up in their backyard to try to prevent them from being destroyed. They’re also going to be adding more security measures around their house.
Despite the destroyed decorations, the Sappenfields say they’re not going to let a Grinch ruin their normal holiday traditions, they only wish this vandalism would stop.
“It is kind of an unhappy tradition,” Sappenfield said.