Class acts, all of them.
ALBANY — Vandals on Christmas Eve inflicted the most extensive damage to the Capital Holiday Lights display in Washington Park in its 15-year history there.
Sgt. Lenny Ricchiuti, who heads the Albany Police Athletic League, which puts on the display as a fundraiser, said 15 light displays were damaged, graffiti was sprayed on corporate sign boards, some of which were destroyed and several power cords were cut.
“We took the signs down and replaced them right away because we didn’t want any kids to see this,” Ricchiuti said.
The damage happened sometime very late Friday or early Saturday in relatively isolated sections of the park.
“We found the damage at about 4:45 p.m. Christmas Eve when we came to power up the displays for the night,” Ricchiuti said. “We got to Lowe’s just before they closed at 6 p.m. and bought $2,000 worth of orange extension cords to replace some of the ones that were cut.”
Police estimated the cost of the damage at about $25,000.
Electricians went to the park on Christmas Day to make repairs to the drive-through display of lighted scenes, some animated, that covers a large section of the park.
“This is by far the worst damage we have ever had to the display,” Ricchiuti said.
Police said some of the graffiti messages seemed to echo themes and slogans associated with the recently ended Occupy Albany protest, including “Stop corporate greed” and “Don’t shop at Wal-Mart.”
“We have no proof of anything at this point, but it does not seem like neighborhood kids would be writing these kinds of messages,” Ricchiuti said.