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Vandals steal, ruin Christmas decorations in Davidson County

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DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- The Davidson County Sheriff's office believes as many as ten recent thefts and incidents of vandalism could be connected.

The incidents included stolen Christmas decorations, slashed Christmas inflatables and smashed mailboxes.

"Sunday morning we came out to go to church," said Richard Simerson. "Santa Claus was here- laying down. Looks like they slashed him right across the stomach with a razor knife or something."

"They didn't hurt me," added Simerson's wife Wanda through tears. "They hurt my grandson."

Martha explained, collecting the inflatables has been their family tradition for years. They do it to celebrate Christmas with their 6-year-old grandson Aaron, who's lived with them since he was a baby.

"It ain't nice to slash stuff. That's not good," said Aaron, looking at his deflated penguin. "The penguin was my best friend."

"I have no idea who would want to ruin a 6-year-old's Christmas," continued Richard, shaking his head.

The Simersons are just one of nine reported houses hit in Davidson County; a tenth report possibly involved a stolen pig statue in Lexington.

Davidson County Sheriff David Grice said he has an idea of who could be responsible for the rash of vandalism in the Lexington and Tyro areas.

"We suspect it may be young people. We just want them to know if we catch them, we're going to charge them."

His message to the vandals?

"No matter how old they are, a charge of malicious property damage will send you to court. And that can affect your employment down the road."

The Sheriff believes the same vandals hit Martha Davis's home near Lexington.

"My husband has all the lights connected here," she pointed to an empty spot near her shrubs. "The small reindeer was here and the lights were strewn across the yard."

The culprits left Rudolph alone, but stole one of the Davis' light-up reindeer. Martha decorates for her grandkids every year.

"It's not a joke. I find this a serious crime. Stealing. I find this so useless."

The stolen reindeer was about $40. The inflatables are as much as $300 each.

Wanda pointed out, "The main thing is- what is Christmas? That's a time we are supposed to love each other. Not tear apart children's dreams."

She says the vandals didn't just slash their decorations. They truly deflated their holiday spirit.