CANAL FULTON, Ohio (WJW) — At the corner of Sandalwood Drive and Burlwood Avenue there is a spirited competition between neighbors over who can have the nicest outdoor Christmas display.
“The three neighbors here — my husband and the two men across the street — like to battle over who has the best decorations so each holiday they compete and we kind of laugh at them but they have a good time with it,” said Jodi Burroughs.
Less than two weeks ago, her neighbor, Jim Harris, added the newest piece to his display: a six-foot-tall snowman that’s all lit up.
On Sunday morning, Jodi says she awoke to find Harris’ new snowman shredded and spread out across his lawn.
“They tried to run with it to the road and then they realized when the arms fell off and everything fell off because it all plugs into the frame that they had to go, you know what I mean?” said Harris.
Police say they have had only one report of thefts of damage to Christmas displays in their community.
But residents who have had their displays stolen or damaged are taking to a community page on social media where they have found they are not alone.
A short distance from Harris’ home, neighbors on Thornwood Drive had their spotlights stolen the same night.
Homeowners on Erie Avenue have also been the victims of thieves.
“It’s disheartening and then it makes you wonder what’s on your property and what systems you have in place to protect yourself and protect your property,” said Burroughs, whose husband, Don, was installing a doorbell camera on Monday because of the crime across the street.
“To steal it is one thing but just to tear it apart and leave it lay doesn’t make sense to me,” said Don Burroughs.
“More than just putting the decorations up for you the little kids love to see the lights. We always did when we were kids. We used to drive around and see the Christmas lights. I mean, it’s fun. It’s part of the holiday; it’s part of the holiday spirit and everybody is ruining it,” said Frank Papay, who was questioning whether or not he would even put up a display only to risk having it stolen.
The theft of outdoor displays is not unique to Canal Fulton.
Thieves have stolen lights and displays from yards in other communities as well.
Victims in Canal Fulton, although frustrated by the recent thefts, say they will not let the thieves steal their holiday spirit.
“You know we got good kids in this community, we really do, and you know, so you don’t want to group them all into one,” said Harris, adding, “there’s little kids all through this neighborhood so we put it up for the little kids.”