After Christmas festivities, a Mechanicsville neighborhood was left with something besides the remnants of holiday cheer —destroyed property.
Hanover officials continue to investigate a series of vandalism that occurred late in the evening of Dec. 28 in the Battlefield Green subdivision.
The tires of cars parked in driveways and along the street were slashed and Christmas decorations were destroyed and in some cases stolen.
The Henderson family was one of approximately 50 victims who experienced some sort of vandalism the weekend after Christmas. Jill Henderson said an officer visited her home at 2:30 a.m. and notified her family that their tires were slashed and decorations were damaged.
“I didn’t think it was really true,” Henderson said. “Who would really expect that?”
This especially angered Henderson because both of their vehicles’ tires were slashed and they had to pay for replacements out of their pockets. She said the deductible from her insurance did not cover the cost for both of the family’s vehicles that were damaged.
A few days after the officer stopped by their home, she noticed her children’s beloved vinyl bench was slashed.
“My daughter loved that little bench,” she said. “It was their favorite place to sit.”
Henderson said her 5-year-old daughter was hurt most by the acts, especially the Christmas lights.
“That was hard for her,” Henderson said.
The family’s Christmas lights were plugged in right on their front porch, so Henderson said the suspects had to go to their front door to unplug the lights, which was a scary thought for her daughter.
She said her daughter often wakes up in the middle of the night asking if the same people who vandalized their home will come back again.
Henderson said the only perk out of the entire experience was that they acquired a Santa Claus sign that randomly appeared in their front yard after the incidents took place.
Crimes are not a normal occurrence for their neighborhood. Although the Henderson family has only lived there for a year, she said in that time her family has never experienced or seen anything quite like this.
“As far as I know it’s a very safe neighborhood, so this is not a typical thing,” Henderson said.
In addition to the rarity of crime in their community, Henderson said that it perplexed her that the suspects were vandalizing properties that night because of the bad weather.
“I don’t know why [anyone] would do that during the middle of the downpour,” she said.
No suspects have been found just yet, but the Sheriff’s Office is not giving up.
“We’re continuing to follow up on leads and solicit leads from the public,” said Lt. Chris Whitley of the Sheriff’s Office.
Whitley said that they believe each incident was connected and possibly done by more than one person because of the “extensive damage” across the entire neighborhood.
The Sheriff’s Office is asking that anyone who may have seen or heard something suspicious that night to please contact them at (804) 365-6140 or the Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. Citizens can also text Crime Stoppers at 274637 (CRIMES), using the keyword “iTip” followed by their tip. Both Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.
“It’s the smallest detail that usually helps us break the case,” Whitley said.