Grinches Vandalize Dyker Lights, Steal Copper Wire

November 29, 2018 Meaghan McGoldrick
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There’s no place like Dyker Heights for the holidays — something that unknown thieves and vandals have apparently discovered, to residents’ dismay.

According to Dyker Heights resident Renea Gargiulo, who heads the growing Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Facebook page, a number of local residents reached out in wake of the unexpected Nov. 15 snowstorm to say that their lights had been vandalized.

“Basically I was told that when it snowed that Thursday, there were a handful of homes that were affected by someone clipping their power cords for their lights,” she told this newspaper. “These people were stealing the copper that was inside of these heavy duty power cords.”

Gargiulo, whose Facebook page now services more than 17,000 fans of the storied Dyker Heights tradition, hopes the Grinches will look elsewhere as the season shines on.

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“It’s just horrible,” she said, hopeful that, with the promise of increased enforcement this year from the New York City Police Department (namely, the 68th Precinct), these no-gooders will leave the lights alone.

“We just hope they stay away,” Gargiulo said, adding that the neighborhood – known worldwide for its larger-than-life holiday displays – experienced a similar string of thefts in 2012 during Superstorm Sandy.

“I know that during Sandy there were a lot of problems with people going into homes that were left vacant and stealing copper,” she said.

Similarly, Dyker residents are no stranger to full-fledged display thefts.

In 2016, a Dyker Heights resident captured surveillance footage of an unknown thief lurking in his family’s front yard and eventually walking off with a huge holiday blow-up decoration.

“The whole thing; wires, everything,” the resident told this paper that year. “Everything that was a part of that Santa Claus was gone.”

Gargiulo spoke to the issue to us back then, as well.

“It’s disgraceful that anyone would choose to zone in on this wonderful community, for all that it traditionally contributes and represents at this time of the year, and use it as an opportunity to take away from the beautiful displays that are a huge part of creating this happy experience for all,” she said that November. “It takes a lot of nerve.”

A police source told this paper that he would look into the most recent claims and, at a Mon., Nov. 19 Community Board 10 general meeting, 68th Precinct Commanding Officer Captain Robert Conwell told attendees that the precinct has been working closely to make this the safest year yet.

“We’re confident that all of the planning we’ve done is going to work out well,” he said.

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