The holidays are in full swing which means lots of holiday décor on Southern California homes. Many people go all out with their decorations, turning their homes into festive holiday wonderlands. With all this décor, it can seem like an easy target for vandalism.
This was the case at a home in Madera. The owner of the home, Jeff Cox, is known in the community for his huge Christmas display—his home, referred to as the “Madera Christmas House, [boasts] 10,000 lights and 25 inflatables ranging from Santa and his reindeer to Mickey and pals.” However, according to ABC 7 News, an individual was caught on camera vandalizing Cox's display—the vandal used a blade to slash his inflatable decorations “ripping them apart.” Unfortunately, this was not the first time his decorations have been targeted by vandals, and other neighbors have also had their decorations targeted. Police reports have been filed to try and locate the suspect and extra patrols have been set up in the neighborhood.
Though you may think it is just a joke or funny to knock over, or otherwise damage someone's Christmas decorations, it can actually be considered vandalism, which is a crime. Under California Law (Penal Code 594), vandalism includes “maliciously” defacing with graffiti, damaging, or destroying any personal or real property of another person. This can include another person's Christmas décor, especially if it's expensive.
The consequences for vandalism depend on the costs of damage done. In vandalism cases, the dollar value is calculated, and the vandal is punished accordingly. When the damage is more than $400, the crime is considered a wobbler, which can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. As a result, punishment could include, Jail time of 1-3 years and fines of up to $10,000 (or more depending on the damage).
Particularly at this time of year, the last thing you want is to be facing a vandalism charge as it is something that can follow you for the rest of your life. However, remember there are available defenses to vandalism, especially if touching or harming another's property was actually an accident. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Kann California Defense Group can meet with you for a free consultation to talk about the details of your case and available defenses. Call our office today at (888) 744-7730 to get the help you deserve.