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Neighbors say holiday vandals won't stop cheer
11 houses targeted in subdivision

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Grinch, or two, has struck early this holiday season, vandalizing the Christmas decorations and homes inside a Lawrenceville subdivision.

Though Gwinnett County police are not yet providing much information about the naughty behavior that took place inside the Brook Forest subdivision this past weekend, residents say they won't let the incidents spoil their holiday.

District 4 Planning Commissioner Paula Hastings lives in the upper-class neighborhood off of Rock Springs Road, and is one of 11 residents who filed police reports Sunday in hopes authorities can track down the holiday humbugs that caused the damaged.

When the Hastings family awoke Sunday morning, Paula Hastings said she was shocked to find crude messages, including a swastika and smutty drawings graffitied across the garage door.

Broken eggs littered the front porch, black spray paint was on the windows of her husband's vehicle and the lights that once glittered around the entrance to their home shone no more - the power cord was severed.

"If they had just messed with the decorations we would have said, 'Oh, stupid kids,'" Hastings said. "But this goes beyond that. This is criminal and just unacceptable and we're angry now."

Hastings said she saw two children in her front yard Saturday evening, but didn't think much of it at the time.

"I saw some kids in the yard with an airsoft gun and yelled, 'Hey,'" Hastings said. The children ran off, taking a path through a neighbor's yard, according to Hastings.

But she believes the pair returned, causing the damage to their home.

Kathleen Carey lives across the street from Hastings, and though she said her home was not as badly vandalized, the cords to 10 small lighted Christmas trees were cut, rendering her holiday decor useless.

Despite the dismay, Hastings and Carey said they plan to keep the holiday spirit alive in the neighborhood.

Hastings has covered the vulgar drawings on her garage and though it was about $200 to replace the damaged Christmas trees, Carey has already restored her yard to a festival of white lights.

"I put a lot of time into decorating for the holidays," Carey said. "And I'm not going to let a couple kids who don't know any better take that away from me."

Hastings said the neighborhood's homeowners association is offering a $1,400 reward for information leading to the conviction of the vandals.

Gwinnett County Police Department spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman said the cases are being forwarded on to detectives for investigation, but could not provide any details about the incidents.

Carey said she has lived in the Brook Forest subdivision for 10 years and vandalism is rare in her neighborhood. But other subdivisions have been hit in the county.

Gwinnett County police reports reveal Christmas decorations were damaged at two homes in Dacula and Lilburn last weekend.

Extension cords were cut and decorations were stolen outside a home on Greenside Court on Saturday. At another Dacula home wires giving life to a multitude of lighted, wire-made decorations were severed, a report said. A sleigh, carousel and reindeer were then stolen from the yard of the Floral Valley Drive home.

Residents reported the decor was worth nearly $200.

Blow-up lawn ornaments sitting outside a home on Fern Creek Drive in Lilburn were slashed, withering the 12-foot snowman and Santa in front of the home.