Vandals cast shadow on holiday lights show

Retired electrician Bob Gauthier shows one of the signs on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011, that was vandalized at the Capital Holiday Lights display at Washington Park in Albany, NY. Gauthier said that local businesses names were spray painted over and the message was written on the board. The light displays that were associated with local businesses were also vandalized. Gauthier said that whoever did the destruction, they cut individual wires between bulbs making more difficult for him to make the repairs needed to get the lights working again. (Paul Buckowski / Times Union) Click on the image to enlarge


Quick repairs keep display open to public through Jan. 2
Bob Gardinier
Times Union

ALBANY — Vandals on Christmas Eve inflicted the most extensive damage to the Capital Holiday Lights display in Washington Park in its 15-year history there.

Sgt. Lenny Ricchiuti, who heads the Albany Police Athletic League, which puts on the display as a fundraiser, said 15 light displays were damaged, graffiti was sprayed on corporate sign boards, some of which were destroyed and several power cords were cut.

“We took the signs down and replaced them right away because we didn’t want any kids to see this,” Ricchiuti said.

The damage happened sometime very late Friday or early Saturday in relatively isolated sections of the park.

“We found the damage at about 4:45 p.m. Christmas Eve when we came to power up the displays for the night,” Ricchiuti said. “We got to Lowe’s just before they closed at 6 p.m. and bought $2,000 worth of orange extension cords to replace some of the ones that were cut.”

Police estimated the cost of the damage at about $25,000…

…”Unfortunately, the misguided message of whoever did this is hurting our efforts to help kids through our programs,” Ricchiuti said. “We do not have insurance for this type of thing.”

The 15th annual Hannaford Capital Holiday Lights in the Park is open until Jan. 2 with 125 displays. Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is $15 per car; $25 per limousine or 15-passenger van, and $75 per bus, with all proceeds benefiting the youth programming of Albany PAL.

The complete article is at the Times Union.

H/T Weasel Zippers

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