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.