Vandals and 'idiots' destroy Christmas display

AUBURN — To Leroy Walker, they are idiots. Not Grinches or Scrooges — just idiots.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Leroy Walker and Ken Blais, background, clean up Sullivan Square in Auburn next to Blais' business, Rolly's Diner. Vandals cut Christmas-light wires and smashed lighted, wire-frame deer and other decorations in the park early Tuesday morning. To see a video of the cleanup, visit

That's how Walker, city councilor for New Auburn and the rest of Ward 5, described the vandals who destroyed New Auburn's Christmas display in Sullivan Square behind Rolly's Diner on Monday night.

"They're just idiots who hate nice things," Walker said. "Someone has something nice, and the kids have a nice thing to look at and they just want to destroy it. Either they had a bad bringing-up, or they've gone bad growing up. I don't know which."

Vandals pulled Christmas lights from nearby Rolly's Diner, cut electrical cords to the live pine tree in the middle of the park and crushed, bent and destroyed wire-frame reindeer and a sleigh.

"At least they didn't try to burn the tree," Walker said. "I guess that didn't occur to them."

Walker said he understands that Auburn police early Tuesday morning had arrested a group of young men on suspicion of vandalizing the New Auburn display.

Deputy Chief Jason Moen said police arrested Joshua Philbrook, 22, of Minot Avenue in Auburn and Nicholas Ayer, 23, of 133 Spring St. in Lewiston and charged them with criminal mischief.

Philbrook was charged with vandalizing the display. Ayer was charged with jumping on the hood of a car parked in front of a South Main Street apartment. The incident is still being investigated.

The decorations were put up in the tiny park by the United New Auburn Association, a group of local businesses.

"We've been adding to it a piece at a time for the last three years or so," Walker said. "I figure we had more than $2,000 in decorations out there. Now we have about $20 worth left."

Rolly's Diner owner Ken Blais said someone shot a pellet gun at one of his windows Sunday night and cut some of the lights on the Christmas tree. He reported that vandalism to the police Monday morning, he said.

"But then, I got to work at 4:30 a.m. (Tuesday) and I saw this mess," Blais said. "I called the police, but they knew about it and said they already had someone in custody."

Blais said he suspects Monday night's vandalism was connected to Sunday night's vandalism.

Walker said he and other association members planned to clean decorations Tuesday and fix what they could.

"And this isn't stopping us," Walker said. "We'll be back next year and we'll replace what we can afford to replace. We're not expecting to be able to salvage much of what's left."

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 's picture

Fixing the vandalism

why not put the perpetrators right to work fixing the mess they made and then sentence them to 1000 hours of community service. local communities have a lot of work to do they can;t afford right now. rather than putting these guys in a nice warm jail cell. put them to work outside doing things the twin cities can't afford to pay for but need done.

Catherine Pressey's picture

Some question why:

NO RESPECT, OF ANYTHING OR ANYONE. These are not kids, unless you are like the lady up the street from me that said her son that has had OUI and other traffic violations, heck is just a kid. My comment is we have young men that age fighting in our military, and they are not kids. And in most of these cases they were brought up with the new, OH my gosh do not spank the little fella, now as an adult the will get the chance to pay the court and for the damage, as well as the remote possibilty that they will continue to make the wrong choices. And we the tax payer will see they are punished, by jail time. No different the the wee boys I witnessed the other day in Minot on private property. Now I mean 8 and under, near a farm pond and throwing the blue rock that holds the culvert stable onto the middle of the pond. They new they were wrong to be there, and booked it when the saw me riding by. The parents must just not care, they come from a small Sub-division on Grange Ave. That is where they ran too. This is where this all starts very young and if not corrected NOW they are the kind that grow into thinking everything is a joke. I VOTE THAT TO DISTROY A CHRISTMAS SCENE IS A HATE CRIME, AGAIST THE CHRISTIANS, AND OUR BELIEFS. I do believe it is blatant disregard for the pleasure this scene gives some of us.

David Lingard Jr's picture


Here we go again something else that is wrong it has to be related to religion.......why does everything have to do with religion i do not get about they did wrong like others have said and they need to be put to work in towns that can not afford the fixer upers on there own.......the world is ending marriage religion.......politics religion......i am so sick and tired of people shoving religion in to mine and others faces who are uncomfortable with the whole religion thing.... get over it keep it in the church or home groups.......if y'all wanna believe these religions and worry yourself to death about whats in a book and no real evidence of all that is in there go ahead.

Roger  Cyr's picture


there are other things to worry about, dont like it walk away, if you cant then thats your decision. we never had probs saying Merry Christmas to peop[le without offending, all i have to say is GET OVER IT....btw...MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL.

David Lingard Jr's picture

christmas display......

i hope they get caught and prosecuted to the is not right what they did.....if they do not like christmas then keep it to them selves

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Whoever did it should be

Whoever did it should be required, if caught, to restore the entire display to its original condition with taser guns pointed at them. And, no coffee, cigarette, or weed breaks allowed.

 's picture


These vandals are old enough to know better...What is wrong with these people? Too bored, nothing to do - put them to work volunteering their time somewhere where they'll see that they are better off that so many other people. I bet it would also make them feel like they matter - maybe that's what they need, I don't know. They deserve to pay to replace these items - it makes me sick to hear this. Destroying the property of others' just for fun. LOSERS!

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I just saw those decorations Sunday.....

I think it was Sunday afternoon, I was heading home and happen to notice these nice decorations set up in the tiny park. I said to myself, thats pretty nice, I bet they won't last. For some reason my mind went back to many years ago, the Christmas tree decked out in New Auburn and all its lights. I also remember one night heading out to work, the lights on the "Town Tree" were all lit up, except for the bottom four feet of lights all the way around. It bothered me at the time that someone could be that petty. From the height of the vandalism, it appeared to be kids.
There I was, two Christmas Display's, fifty feet apart, twenty years apart. Now I read they have one thing in common. This is pretty sad. Maybe some psychiatrist somewhere can explain what drives people to be this way. All I can think of is "anti social", at the very least, anti Christmas. I don't know if these are related but late Monday afternoon, someone lit the "Jungle Jim" at Chestnut St. Park in Auburn on fire, I doubt with the rain and snow and Ice on Monday the thing spontaneously erupted. The Fire Department took pictures and everything, but I still wonder. Is there someone sitting home Monday night all proud of the damage they caused? It just makes you scratch your head........

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Sometimes spell check is of no use at all....

Perhaps it should be "Jungle Gym"


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