A Christmas crasher was caught on doorbell video trashing house decorations at a La Mesa couple's home.
Based on the doorbell camera footage, the intruder's first step up toward the string lights was a difficult one but getting them off Neil and Catherine Butler's home proved even tougher.
It happened Tuesday night on Palm Avenue in La Mesa sometime after 8 p.m., according to the homeowners.
The video shows a man dressed in layers of clothes, struggling to climb on top of the porch railing to pull down the lights.
"Who is this person on our porch. What the heck are they doing?" homeowner Catherine Butler asked.
The Butlers' best guess is this person spent about two minutes pulling on the Christmas lights before losing his temper.
"Maybe he wanted a strand of lights and thought he could get them easily from our porch. When he couldn’t, he got frustrated, " Neil Butler said.
Instead of stealing the decorations, the vandal destroyed them.
Catherine Butler snapped a few photos of the damage.
The string lights were torn off the gutters, a wreath and garland thrown to the ground.
Worst of all for Neil Butler, who's a retired Navy sailor, the flag was damaged and tossed in the yard.
"This is our home, and this is Christmas. It's the season of light and how dare you show up and mess that up," Catherine Butler said.
The vandal escaped without being recognized, despite there being people inside the home at the time. While the video is revealing, the camera did not get a clear picture of the crook's face.
The Butlers didn't notice the damage until the next morning and they quickly put up new decorations. Try as you might, you won't ruin our Christmas, the couple said.
Just days before Christmas, it looked like an end to the front porch merriment, but the Butlers are refusing to throw in the holiday towel.
"We're not about to let this cute little house and porch not be what we want it to be, so we replaced everything today and say we're taking it back," Catherine Butler said.
The Butlers say they reported the incident to police and shared the video on the neighborhood NextDoor app so others wouldn't be caught off guard should the suspect return to the area.
The Butlers turned off their doorbell video alerts because they were receiving so many each day. The camera is triggered by the slightest movement in front of their home.
That's how the intruder went unnoticed that night.