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Police investigate multiple reports of vandalism to Holiday of Lights displays in Gypsy Hill Park

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 5:11 PM EST
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — Staunton Police are investigating after three people were caught on camera damaging Celebration of Lights displays in Gypsy Hill Park.

“I really feel so bad for the people that have taken their time, their efforts, their money, their creativity... The people of Staunton are very, very, very creative people,” Thelma Newman said.

Newman, chairperson of the effort, said she’s hoping justice will be served.

“Hopefully the judges, once they get all the information they need, get the proof that they will go ahead and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” Newman said.

There are 120 displays in the park this year, and police have received 24 reports of displays that have been damaged.

Henry Funeral Home reported about $400 worth of damage caused to their display.

“We want people to enjoy and have something to go to. They can stay in their car and see it, and it’s a shame that people have to destroy it. It takes away... They’re hurting more people than they know,” Charlie Rimel, assistant manager of Henry Funeral Home said.

Rimel said he encourages people to take photos with the display, but they ask people don’t touch their decorations.

Rimel added that this is not the first year they’ve had their display damaged. Staunton Police said the destruction is something that has happened in previous years but not to this extent.

“Some of the people got so upset that they’re not going to go ahead and put their displays back up. They went ahead and took them down. They just got so frustrated, and I would too,” Newman said.

Newman said many will still be participating, including Henry Funeral Home.

“We’re going to continue to do it because it’s something that we enjoy doing, and we don’t want to stop because of somebody’s selfishness because then it ruins it for everybody if we stop doing it,” Rimel said.

Anyone with information on the destruction is encouraged to call the police.

On Saturday, Dec. 5., Santa Claus will be in the park at the Santa house with his elves for people to drive by to see and drop off their wish lists. They will be back on Dec. 12 and on Dec. 18.

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