JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - Three people are facing charges in connection to damaging several inflatable Christmas decorations at a Jackson, Missouri home.
Peter B. Lake, 17, of Jackson, was cited into the City of Jackson Municipal Court on a misdemeanor charge of property damage.
Two others were charged through the Cape Girardeau County Juvenile Office.
According to Jackson School District Superintendent John Link, all three are student athletes on the Jackson basketball team and are ineligible to play during the investigation.
The vandalism happened at a home on Providence Drive on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Homeowner Bindu Finnell and her family have been putting up Christmas inflatables worth more than $1,000 for the past eight years.
She sat down to tell Heartland News how this ruined her family's holiday.
"If you could've heard the blood curdling scream from our nine-year-old that day, I...I," Finnell said.
Finnell has a tough time trying to explain the moment when her son walked outside to see almost a dozen of his Christmas inflatables slashed.
"This means so much for him," he said. "They're not just some yard decorations, we've collected these for years, we enjoyed putting them up."
Finnell said her family enjoyed it so much… it became a tradition over the past eight years.....a tradition that suddenly came to an end when they woke up on December 4th.
Now a week later, Jackson police say they have identified the juvenile suspects allegedly involved, but Finnell said the damage is already done.
"You trespassed on our property, you destroyed expensive property and you destroyed a little boy's Christmas," she said.
The vandalism has been so hard on her family, Finnell said her son wrote a letter to Santa asking why someone would destroy his belongings.
"I don't know how to explain to an innocent nine-year-old that there are people who do stuff like this and why," Finnell said. "Who knows why I just had to tell him bad things happen to good people and we can't let that destroy our holiday."
Thanks to some generous neighbors, Finnell's son now have two new inflatables that the family decided to leave in the home.
"We don't really feel safe yet to put them outside, but we plan to come back bigger and better next year," she said.
The owners said some of the decorations cost hundreds of dollars, and the total damage is over $1,000.
The inflatables ranged in size from around five feet to upwards of 20 feet tall, and were slashed with a piece of rebar with a taped handle that was left at the scene, according to the owners.
"It broke our Christmas spirit," one owner said.