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‘It’s gut-wrenching:’ Vandals cause nearly $3K in damage to Beaver Dam holiday display

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BEAVER DAM -- The Beaver Dam Police Department is searching for vandalism suspects after roughly $3,000 worth of damage was done to Beaver Dam's Swan Park "Rotary Lights" holiday display.

Beaver Dam holiday display damaged

Authorities were notified the morning of Thursday, Dec. 5 that several light displays, trees, and a newly-created "gingerbread" house were damaged or destroyed.

"Here's the wreckage. It's just destroyed," said Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt. "It's gut-wrenching."

Police say that the suspects used stolen golf carts to damage the light displays.

Beaver Dam holiday display damaged

Beaver Dam holiday display damaged

"It wasn't like they just ran through it once. They ran through and then most likely had to run through it again to do the type of damage that they did," Schmidt said. "I can't fathom why anybody would ever want to do that."

For Sheriff Schmidt, this crime is personal. He started the display three years ago. Now, he's joined by volunteers to fix it.

Beaver Dam holiday display damaged

Beaver Dam holiday display damaged

"It was pretty bad seeing that somebody could wreck something so nice," said Brian Flick, who helped create the display.

Beaver Dam holiday display damaged

Officials say some of the lights cannot be repaired, but light shows at the park will continue.

"Fortunately, we've had a great outpouring of support of people coming back out to help us out, to get this put back up," Schmidt said.

This is the third time in as many years that theft or vandalism has happened to the Rotary Lights display. Security cameras will be installed at the park for 24/7 surveillance year-round with the hope of preventing additional criminal activity.

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