HIGH spirits in Leongatha, after last Saturday night’s popular Carols in the Drome, turned to fear and loathing when vandals wreaked havoc in several residential streets.
Meanwhile, in Korumburra, social media sites lit-up after Christmas thieves got away with lights and ornaments from a number of homes, including a special solar-powered Reindeer in Radovick Street.
The worst of the damage was done in Leongatha’s west, late on Saturday night, where seven ornamental plum trees were snapped off in Peart Street and four young Chinese Red Tip trees were stepped on and snapped in Trease Street.
They also pulled out two letterboxes and left a quantity of broken glass.
And there was a report of damage to a car in Shingler Street, although police could not confirm the information.
The town’s Christmas tree was also damaged, this time after someone allegedly tried to climb the ornamental tree.
Members of the Leongatha Chamber of Commerce have provided CCTV footage to the police.
“The incidents are believed to have taken place on Saturday night, around 10pm we think,” Senior Constable Nathan Grist said.
“It’s conceivable that they came up from the night at the carols, it fits into that time, but we don’t really know.
“What we need to stress is that if people see or hear anything suspicious that they think police would be interested in, call ‘triple zero’ (000).
“The confusion for people is that they think that’s the emergency number but it’s the best way to get us.
“We’ll be out on the road so we could be just a matter of minutes away and it will help us catch these people.
“These were ornamental trees were placed there by the shire to beautify the place and then something like this happens. It’s very disappointing.”
S/C Grist said the police would look at available CCTV footage and make inquiries but they would also like to hear from anyone with information (call Leongatha 5662 2285 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000).
The damage has alarmed and worried residents of these quite streets.
“We have a number of older people, living on their own in these area and it’s a real concern,” said Mrs Margaret Higgins, who had a strongly-growing tree smashed out the front of her place.
“We’ve had people walk up residents’ driveways, they pulled out two letterboxes and left broken glass around. It makes some people lose confidence about coming out of their homes.”
In Peart Street, local resident Peter Bolge was disgusted.
“What do you say? It’s ridiculous.”
Police up the damage to the seven trees in Peart Street, planted 12 months ago by the shire, at $80 each or $560, while the four trees in Trease Street were worth upwards of $200; total $800.
The shire cleaned up the mess on Monday afternoon but it may be sometime before the trees can be replanted.
Grinch hits Burra
In Korumburra, Christmas decorations thieves hit several homes in town stealing or destroying the spirit-filled displays mounted by residents.
Here’s what the homeowners said on Facebook:
• Three guys stole Xmas lights from my house last night. Real scumbags really like destroying people’s lives
• I won’t let it spoil my trust in people I do feel there is a lot of wonderful people in our community it’s those handful of people that spoil everyone’s enjoyment especially the children’s at this time of year. I love Christmas and watching people go past loving the lights, I might do again next year but this year has left me with a bad taste
• We live in Radovick St and we’ve just discovered that our Reindeer has also been stolen from the front yard. This is only our second Christmas in Korumburra and we love it having moved here to retire from the Gold Coast. Decorating the front of our house has very special meaning for us as it is one ‘normal’ thing that I can do despite having had three strokes. This very low act is very disappointing to us. My Reindeer (of course named Rudolf) was very special. It was bought for me by my husband as a gift, the first Christmas after my first stroke. Such lowlifes! Destruction just for the heck of it. I know they might seem to be small thefts but it destroys our faith in our community.
“Rudolf was stolen overnight on Saturday night, so we’ve had to move some of our other things around the back which is pretty disappointing,” Karen Penrose told the Sentinel-Times yesterday.
As well as the solar reindeer in Radovic Street, police said lights and a ‘Stop Santa’ sign were stolen from Mair Crescent; found broken later by the owners.
Several other residents reported thefts and CCTV footage has been supplied to police.