Crime & Courts

Vandals wreck Cornelius family’s Christmas display

Adam and Mandy Pearson had trouble understanding why someone kicked over Christmas signs and a Christmas tree in their front yard late Friday.

It shocked them even more when vandals struck again this week. As the couple and their four children slept, a vehicle drove onto their front lawn late Monday or early Tuesday and flattened two rows of Christmas decorations, including Adam Pearson’s favorite two-penguins-on-a-seesaw display.

The Pearsons’ two-story home in the Oakhurst neighborhood is known as the Holiday House around town for the elaborate outdoor lighted displays the family assembles every Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and Christmas.

“We’re, like, the only people who put things out on St. Patrick’s Day,” Adam Pearson, 42, said.

When the Pearsons moved from Memphis, Tenn., in 2010 to be closer to Mandy Pearson’s family in the Charlotte area, they brought so many holiday decorations that the items filled their two-car garage. They added plywood to their sweltering attic to hold more.

Their displays started as a friendly competition with a neighbor in Memphis and mushroomed from there. Now each Halloween alone, 300 children visit their home on Willow Leaf Lane to check out the ghouls and goblins.

The displays promote a fun and festive holiday season, “regardless of which season,” Mandy Pearson said. “We want to continue to do it, but not if somebody is going to do this and ruin it.”

The vandalism was the second such case in the Lake Norman region since Christmas. In Mooresville, police arrested and charged three teenagers in the Dec. 27 vandalism of a Christmas display in the yard of the Broy family in the Curtis Pond neighborhood.

The Pearsons are publicizing what happened to their display in hopes of helping police catch the perpetrators. Seventeen of the more than 100 decorations were destroyed.

The family has left the flattened decorations in their yard to send a message to the vandals. “We know you’ve done it, we’re looking for you and we want you to be aware of what you’ve done,” Mandy Pearson, 40, said.

The couple said they’ve told their children they hope they learn from it as well and not be like that. Their second message to their kids: “It’ll be OK. We’ll fix it,” Mandy Pearson said.