Rebuilding New Auburn's vandalized Christmas display

6:50 PM, Dec 12, 2012   |    comments
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AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A park in New Auburn is without thousands of dollars in Christmas decorations after police say vandals destroyed the holiday display in Sullivan Square Monday night.

Auburn Police have charged Joshua Philbrook, 22, of Auburn, and Nicholas Ayer, 23, of Lewiston, with criminal mischief after they say the two men cut electrical cords to Christmas lights, bent the wires for the reindeer and sleighride display, and destroyed nearly every decoration in the park.

"It almost made you want to cry, it just took your heart away," said Auburn City Councilor Leroy Walker, whose ward encompasses the New Auburn neighborhood.

Walker said for the last three years, the New Auburn neighborhood has gathered in Sullivan Park, next to Rolly's Diner, to see Santa and the Christmas display.

Local business owners, such as Rolly's owner Ken Blais, have slowly accumulated the decorations for the display.

"It's not like they stole our stuff to put on their lawn, they destroyed it for just no reason," said Blais.

Police said the vandals destroyed the display on Monday night, the day after the New Auburn Christmas celebration.

It's an act of vandalism that stings espeically hard this time of year, and especially hard in this neighborhood said Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonte.

"It's just neighborhood folks just wanting to support each other, and that's the best kind of activity," said LaBonte. "And it's also the most frustrating to see someone try to ruin."

But what alleged vandals tried to destroy, other community members have stepped in to rebuild.

Blais said his phone at the diner has been ringing off the hook to receive monetary donations and Christams decorations so the United New Auburn Association can rebuild the display.

"It just shows you there's still some good out there," said Blais.

He said so far, they have collected about $300 in pledged donations, along with Christmas lights and even some replacement wire reindeer for the lawn.

They are still accepting donations, and ask for phone calls to be made to Ken Blais at Rolly's Diner at 753-0171.



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