Grinch tries to steal Christmas cheer with vandalism

Still spirited: Kolbe Poole and her eight-year old son Hunter, who has autism, were the victims of vandalism with $200 of Christmas lights destroyed.
Still spirited: Kolbe Poole and her eight-year old son Hunter, who has autism, were the victims of vandalism with $200 of Christmas lights destroyed.

A Ballarat East family has been left heartbroken after their beloved Christmas lights were destroyed.

Kolbe Poole and her eight-year-old son Hunter, who has autism, set up lights, glowing reindeer and a sign directing Santa to their house on Monday.

When Ms Poole returned from work on Wednesday night, parts of their Christmas display had been vandalised, causing $200 worth of damage. 

The Santa sign which Hunter picked out had been dismantled, while wire was ripped out of the strings of lights.

“It’s really disappointing that people would do something like that and take the joy away from the kids,” Ms Poole said. 

“Especially when you’ve got a child with autism who is non-verbal, it’s very hard to communicate to him why they’re not there anymore. He kept saying ‘Mummy fix, Mummy fix’.

“He looked so sad, and was just leaning on the window looking at the darkness outside, when there should have been some light. It was pretty heartbreaking.”

Ms Poole said the damage was particularly distressing for Hunter, who looks forward to seeing the lights in their front yard every year. 

“He absolutely loves the Christmas lights, he checks them as soon as it gets dark, and another half a dozen times before bed,” she said. 

“I don’t know exactly how much of Christmas my son understands, but he knows that this time of the year there’s always lights.

“He loves all the colours and the sequences of them flashing.”

A formal complaint to the Police is yet to be made.

Having only been in her home for five months, Ms Poole said she decided not to put all of Christmas lights she’d purchased on display due to safety concerns. 

The family is now putting the remaining lights in the fenced backyard, so that Hunter can still have his own Christmas retreat. 

“Hopefully over the next couple of days he’ll see it growing again and that will be good,” she said. 

“I was never putting them up to win anything, it was literally just to spread a little Christmas cheer. 

“Hunter will just have his own private Christmas wonderland out the back now.”