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Holiday Display Owner Wary After Repeat Vandalism

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(Credit: AP)

(Credit: AP)

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CARA R. ANTHONY

The News-Post of Frederick

URBANA, Md. (AP) — John Yaglenski sleeps with one eye open in December.

Three years ago, vandals ransacked an elaborate holiday display outside his home in Urbana.

“This time of year I don’t sleep very well because I am always worried about this kind of stuff,” he said.

Vandals hit the family display again this year. In response to the crime, Yaglenski recently purchased extra security equipment for his yard.

On Dec. 13, two people in winter hats and sweatshirts uprooted a holiday display that took about two months to organize and install, Yaglenski said. Some items in the yard are secured with wire while others are free-standing.

“I don’t know why they were in the neighborhood. Maybe they were looking to create some havoc or whatever,” he said while reviewing surveillance camera footage he submitted to authorities.

Yaglenski remembers scaring the vandals away as the family dogs barked in the background. The pair ran after Yaglenski repeatedly banged on a window, but while he was on the phone with a police dispatcher, “they drove off right in front of me,” he said.

They took an illuminated Christmas dog with a wagging tail that was later recovered a few yards away from the Yaglenski house. In addition to the dog, Yaglenski found an electric snowman from someone else’s yard.

“We’re keeping it until we find its home,” he said. “No one’s claimed it yet.”

The dog is a part of the Yaglenski Family Dancing Holiday Light Spectacular, a tradition for some families in the area.

More than a dozen cars line up in front of the house each night to see a light show synchronized with holiday music.

“We can’t compete with him, he blew us away 10 years ago,” neighbor Bill Laughlin said, noting a special mailbox in front the Yaglenski home where children drop off letters to Santa Claus.

The family adds something new each year to their holiday display, which includes about 30 wire figurines.

“I just want to bring pieces of magic to Urbana,” Yaglenski said.

Cpl. Jennifer Bailey of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said the agency is investigating.

“Unfortunately, every year we do hear about a few of these types of thefts or vandalism. Anytime items are left unsecured, it’s a risk,” she said. “In this case the citizen had a video surveillance system, which was helpful in compiling a description of both the suspects and the vehicle.”

An illuminated sign in front of the house warns trespassers of surveillance cameras, but on Dec. 13, Yaglenski said, the sign was not on.

He broke his normal routine of leaving the sign on all night long. Keeping a light on is easy for Yaglenski because the holiday display is computer-operated.

Yaglenski says he will continue to use security cameras to guard his display, which continues through Dec. 31.

“It’s just frustrating,” he said.

Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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