Halloween decorations targeted by vandals in the metro area

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 5:39 PM PDT
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VANCOUVER, Wash. (KPTV) - Days before Halloween, some homes displaying decorations are becoming targets for vandalism.

Security camera footage from houses in Vancouver, Gresham, and Happy Valley was sent to FOX 12 by viewers and shows a similar chain of events: a car rolls up with four or five people inside, they jump out, run up to a yard, and smash pumpkins, lights, ceramics, and other decorations before taking off. In three out of the four videos sent to the FOX 12 newsroom, there is at least one person wearing a paper white sweatshirt. Two of the homeowners FOX 12 spoke with on Tuesday believe the group of vandals are teenagers.

Sam Fetter’s house in Vancouver was one that was targeted.

“I realize it was a prank,” Fetter said. “We were targeted randomly, but it’s upsetting because we have an elementary-age kid here, and if he would’ve seen that, it would’ve crushed him.”

Fetter’s doorbell camera caught a group of four people smashing ceramic decorations and tearing up an inflatable display on Oct. 11. A camera perched above his front yard caught the group fleeing in a van. When Fetter first heard the noise of the vandalism, he thought someone was trying to break into his house.

“Them pounding their fists on the front door to let us know what they were doing that went a little too far there,” Fetter said.

Across the river in Gresham, Willie Shaffer’s security cameras picked up a similar group of people targeting his house this past Sunday night. A group of four or five people arrived and started to smash pumpkins on his porch, even throwing pieces at Shaffer’s front door. Shaffer said he and his family carved those pumpkins just that day.

“Our three-year-old came out and helped me pick them up and he just said ‘daddy, they smashed my pumpkin, the mean guys smashed my pumpkin. Why did they do that?’” Shaffer said. “I said ‘I don’t know, baby. Sometimes people do not do so nice stuff.’”

Another viewer in Happy Valley also sent FOX 12 two separate videos of vandalism in their neighborhood. The same thing happens again. Decorations are smashed and families are left asking why. So far police have not said if they’re connected but families like Shaffer’s think it’s too much of a coincidence.

“What we want is for people to be aware,” Shaffer said. “Halloween is coming up and from our understanding is that they’ve done this a few times. Like I said we have a three-year-old and an eight-year-old and they’re just devastated.”

Shaffer said he didn’t file a report with the Gresham Police Department because he knows currently, they don’t have the resources to go after the vandals. Fetter said he did file a police report with Vancouver Police. A spokesperson for the department said they’re currently investigating the case.