MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — City officials in a western Twin Cities suburb are decrying the actions of a holiday “Grinch” accused of damaging multiple homes’ holiday displays.
According to police in Watertown, most of the damages were concentrated in the areas of Landings Lane, Westminster Avenue Southwest, and Grove Avenue Southeast.
The damage was reported on both Sunday and Monday evenings.
For the last decade, Chad Semeja has spent almost three days each year putting up a massive holiday display.
“My grandfather used to do it, so I decided to carry on the tradition,” Semeja said.
Which is why he was disappointed when the display was vandalized last year, causing close to $2,000 worth of damage. Then he got hit again this year. An inflatable decoration was slashed, a holiday bell and lights cut in half and a fence ripped apart.
“I was like, really, two years in a row?” Semeja said.
Just down the road another homeowner had a baby Jesus from a nativity scene — passed down through her family — stolen.
“Just really disheartening when you think about people’s time and money they put into the displays and then callously destroying that,” Watertown Mayor Steve Washburn said.
Mayor Washburn says there have been four police reports since Sunday, but they now know of more incidents. The person responsible could face charges.
“Anything over $1,000 worth of damage does become a felony and we do know of at least one case that is over that,” he said.
As for Semeja, he’ll still do the holiday display, but plans to use security cameras now.
The City of Watertown is now offering a $500 reward for information that leads to an arrest.