New Garden family devastated after holiday items stolen

Ed McDonald

Traditionally, Christmas is a time of love, brotherhood and celebration. But for one New Garden Township family, the season brings continuing waves of disappointment.

Ed McDonald of Buck Toe Road says grinches have apparently targeted his home whenever he decorates for the holidays -- and that includes Easter and Halloween as well as the Eagles football season. Not only that, but when there's no special day on the calendar, they go after his trashcans and mailbox.

Most recently his family set up a Christmas display that included an inflatable fire truck with flashing lights and a doggie theme. But as of Sunday, it was gone. Other times, he has seen his stolen displays wrecked and thrown in a nearby stream.

McDonald, who lives in a neighborhood that is basically accessible by vehicles only, said he saw some cars pulling in and out of his driveway on Saturday night, but he is not sure whether they were vandals or just people turning around.

Earlier in the year, police caught some youths in the Hartefeld area and gave them a good talking to, McDonald said. However, the vandalism at his place has continued, and he can't figure out who is doing it.

It happens, according to his reckoning, late at night or early morning. "It seems to happen after midnight. Who stays out that late?" he asked, recalling that in his youth - even through his teenage years -- his parents made sure he was in by curfew.

Now, the costs and the heartbreak have him reconsidering setting up any lighted displays at all. And his heart aches for his four young children ages 4, 8, 11 and 12, who have to endure the disappointment.

"I was going to put out a big spread, but now I can't. I just feel robbed," he said.

New Garden Township Police Chief Larry Dampman said the vandalism problem is not widespread. "It's just couple of instances [in the township]. We don't have any information as to why it's occurring," he said.

He advised keeping and eye out for vandals and enlisting neighbors to do the same.

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