Paradise Hills

Vandals Target Paradise Hills Man's Popular Christmas Display

Vandals were caught on camera attempting to steal a plastic Christmas display from a festive Paradise Hills man's yard

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It's another case of Christmas crooks.

This time, a trio of vandals hit a popular Christmas display in Paradise Hills, and police might get a chance to put coal in their stockings because they were caught on camera.

The homeowner described the vandals as teenagers, although their faces aren't clear on the video.

They targeted a small Santa tucked next to a blow-up Grinch. Despite their best efforts, the would-be thieves did not get away with jolly old St. Nick.

Five days till the big day, Christmas and Ruben Lopez aren’t done decorating yet.

"I'm going to be set up tomorrow. Usually I put up 20 to 40,000 lights. I usually put anywhere from 10 to 20 blow ups," Lopez said.

The neighbors know the Lopez home as the Christmas house.

"It’s great. I love the lights. I love the Santa," neighbor Amber Haslerud said.

While hundreds usually stop to admire it, not everyone has been spreading the joy this holiday season.

Last Saturday, three people were caught on camera approaching the display. Ruben heard the noise outside and got there just in time to catch them stealing his small Santa.

“I was upset and the first thing that went through my mind was, 'Not again," Lopez said.

This is the second time in three years that vandals targeted his display. The last time, someone stole a snowman.

"We don't have the faces of them, but somebody knows these kids," Lopez said.

The Lopez' display is on San Diego Family Magazine's "Christmas Lights to See" list. It is their passion, and they say it's their gift to the Paradise Hills community where they have lived for 17 years.

“The lights bring everyone joy -- adults, children, so for anyone to try and take anything from displays, I think it's sad," Haslerud said.

While the vandals dropped the Santa as they made their getaway, Ruben said he is keeping it out of the display until he can properly secure it to deter others "hum bugging" this holiday.

The Lopez family will continue the tradition of having a "real" Santa at their home this Sunday. Everyone is welcome.

It usually draws between 100 and 200 people.

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