Video: Teens Vandalize Fairfax Station Christmas Display, Homeowner Says

A Fairfax Station Christmas display was wrecked over the weekend by two teens, and a homeowner took video of the incident.

A home surveillance video shows teenagers smashing up an elaborate Christmas display at a Fairfax Station home at 4 a.m. on Sunday. 

“I woke up the next morning, looked out front and was really broken-hearted,” said homeowner Michael Lester. “The more I looked, the more horrified I was.”

Lester has put on spectacular Christmas displays in the front yard of his home on Wayfarer Drive in Fairfax Station for the last 15 years. The massive, colorful display draws thousands of visitors each year. This year was the last year Lester, 61, planned to put up decorations of this scale.

"It's one thing when you're in your 50s, but it's hard for me to decorate now," Lester said.

On Sunday evening, Lester held a Christmas party for his family and friends. The display was up and finished when the guests left, but when he awoke he found that many of the inflatable decorations on the front yard had burst open. Plastic decorations were crushed or knocked over.

Lester has a security camera set up outside of his home and reviewed the tapes to discover two teenage boys driving up to his home at about 4 a.m. Sunday. In the video, the teens get out of their car, a silver Ford Taurus.

“We see them go running through the display with a baseball bat,” Lester said. "We have a Santa’s workshop inflatable. It’s very big and secured in the ground and they tried to wiggle it out of the ground.”

“Most amazingly of all is after they go running through the yard, he hops on the car and as they leave the neighborhood, they drive through the display with their car,” Lester said.

Tire marks were seen dug into the front yard of Lester’s home. Lester reported the incident to the Fairfax County Police Department, who said that they would pass along the information to local high schools. The images on the video do not have a clear view of either of the boy’s faces, but Lester hopes that someone will come forward.

“The police said that usually when kids do really dumb things such as this they go bragging about it and word will filter out,” Lester said.

“I would like to have three minutes to tell them how this affected us,” Lester said. “I hope this bothers them for a long time.”

Lester points out that seniors from a local assisted living facility look forward to visiting the display each year. Lester gives out hundreds of candy canes to visitors who stop by to view the show.

"My daughters look forward to the display every year," said next-door neighbor Lucille Clark. "It's a sad commentary that people would do this kind of thing."

Though Lester and his neighbors were able to get the display back up in working order on Monday, many of the key pieces are now missing. Plastic figurines are difficult to find these days. Lester scours Ebay and has traveled as far as Baltimore to purchase decorations.

“I’m sure that they were out partying and they did it on a lark because they thought it was cool,” Lester said. "They didn't think of the consequences."

"Why would someone do this?" Lester added. "I mean, come on, it's Christmas."

The car that the teens were driving was a silver Ford Taurus model year between 2001 and 2006. If you have any information about this, contact the Fairfax County Police Department at 703-691-2131.

T-Bird December 14, 2011 at 03:41 PM
It's called criminal trespass and vandalism. It's a -real- crime, and they should be persued by the police, not the schools.
Nery Gainor December 14, 2011 at 05:03 PM
This is so sad. They should be thrown in jail. Where are the parent's? THey are pathetic souls and need help.
Will Radle December 14, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Why would anyone trespass to destroy a gift to our community? This is sad and consequences need to be serious.
Emily Elliott December 15, 2011 at 11:36 AM
Aww this is terrible, Nothing about it is funny.
Helen C. Kyle December 15, 2011 at 12:53 PM
I used to live near Albion, in Western NY. People who lived on the corner off the main road into town had a ravine in their back yard, and for many years they used to place elaborate decorations outlined with the old fashioned large bulb outdoor lights, scattered here and there on the embankment. For many, many years, everybody passing by enjoyed seeing them. They were so pretty. Then one year vandals smashed all the bulbs. I think they were replaced and it happened again, so the people told us all they weren't going to put anything up again, ever. It was a bleak black hillside after that. Every year since then everyone has missed seeing the beautiful display. The holidays never seemed quite so festive after that.
C. Ford December 15, 2011 at 02:50 PM
Some people are just selfish little gits - usually teen boys, for this kind of thing. (NOTE: I am not referring to *all* teen boys, only the ones doing this kind of vandalism.) We live on a corner and have put up holiday lights every year. Last year we added two of those lit up deer to our front yard, and the very first night we turned it on, 'somebody' moved the deer around so that it looked like they were mating. This year, they weren't nearly as clever - on the first night our lights were on, 'someone' knocked them over and unplugged them, AND went into the bushes and unplugged everything else too. This must've shorted something out, because it caused the whole string of icicle lights on our roofline to go out. We've tried to fix them twice now, but no joy. My husband put everything back together, but the vandals came back a SECOND time - and knocked the deer over and unplugged them again. The damage to the deer by this point means that they no longer move their heads up and down, and a bunch of lights are no longer lit up. This has all caused my husband no end of frustration, as he's proud of our display, and is upset about the non-working lights. He's now rushing to the front door at the slightest noise out front (we live on a corner, so that's pretty often), and has just put him in a foul mood about it. My two young children are upset about it as well, and I've decided we're not replacing the deer after this year - too much heartache over it. = (
Bob December 15, 2011 at 06:56 PM
How was the surveillance camera able to move with the movement of the perpetrators?
Rachel Hatzipanagos (Editor) December 15, 2011 at 07:03 PM
@Bob, the camera itself was stationary. The movement was done during the editing.
T-Bird December 15, 2011 at 10:04 PM
These people are trespassing and violating your property. Don't be a victim. You have a right to protect yourself and your property. I'm betting when a bullet whizzes by their ear, these cowards will never do it again.
JAK December 15, 2011 at 10:26 PM
I don't mind some harmless prank, such as when a neighbor of mine had a drunken New Years party, and some in attendance took our lit-up deer and placed it in our next-door neighbor's yard. As long as it doesn't involve messing up our hard work, and no damage is done, then it is not so bad in my book (Although I would never personally do such a thing myself). However, complete destruction is unacceptable and simply wrong.
Mad at misfit kids December 15, 2011 at 11:35 PM
I used to have relatives in Washington and it was a real treat for us to drive by once every season. This display is one of our most favorite. My kids are going to be heartbroken for this family when I tell them about this. Is there any site taking donations to help them get their yard back up and running?
steve December 16, 2011 at 03:18 AM
Police could supeona cell phone records to see who was geo-located in that area at around 4AM, +/- 15min. With cell-phone based 911, they can now tell and track where phones are (as long as they are turned on). Once could then match the names of phones to names that own a silver Taurus.


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