COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WLWT) – Colerain Township police say two teenagers arrested Wednesday night have admitted to damaging yard displays put up to bring an early Christmas to a terminally ill little boy.
WLWT reports according to police, the two 17-year-old boys were confronted with video evidence showing one of them slashing an inflatable Santa Claus on Niagara at 11:31 p.m.
They then owned up to doing the same thing on Adair Court where “Team Brody,” as its called, is rallying around a child with a rare form of cancer.
George Reiter told us the video camera he had mounted on his home came in mighty handy.
“I don’t know why they did it,” he said Thursday. “If it was just enjoyment or what? But I’m glad they got caught and I didn’t catch ’em. ‘Cause I’d have probably been in jail.”
The anger about the Santa slashings around the Northbrook section of the Township seemed to have deepened the sense of community.
Reiter spent two days guarding the displays for Brody’s family.
The boy’s brother and a neighbor strung up lights the day after the vandals struck.
They were also putting a few thoughts together about why someone would try to ruin displays meant to bring joy to a child with a fatal form of cancer.
“Since they moved on the street, it has brought warmth to our street and more children for us to play with and grow up and take care of,” said Armon Jackson, who had his own yard display vandalized earlier. “And we’re going to continue to put up more and more stuff. No matter how you come down and victimize us, we’re going to keep it going. We’re never going to shut it down until it’s time to.”
Colerain Township police credited the surveillance footage for the arrests of the teens who remain in the custody of the juvenile court.
“The goal is not to punish them,” said Chief Mark Denney. “It’s to rehabilitate, put ’em on the right track. I hope they learn that this is their community; they should be part of it, not take away from it.”
One of the teens was charged with fleeing from police. The other had three outstanding warrants for his arrest. Both were charged with violating curfew and criminal damaging. The damage to the display at the Reiters’ home was pegged at $120.
Despite the vandals, the community has rallied around 2-year-old Brody Allen and his family. The family was recently told by doctors that Brody likely wouldn’t make it until Christmas due to a rare form of cancer.
So they decided to make sure Brody got to experience one last Christmas, and friends, neighbors and even complete strangers have embraced the idea.
Brody’s dad Todd Allen says they’ve received bags full of Christmas cards and online messages from all over the world.
“They tell how much they love my little boy and pray for him and just want to be part of our family and help us goes through this,” he said.
More than 100 people showed up on Friday to sing Christmas carols to Brody.
Todd Allen said there was no way to put the family’s gratitude to the community into words. His son will be the grand marshal for Sunday’s 4 p.m. parade that will conclude with Rozzi fireworks around 8 p.m.
“You can pop a few Santas,” he said, “but you can’t take away Christmas.”