Display taken off courthouse grounds by vandals
A controversial Santa skeleton display has once again been vandalized, and this time the culprit can add larceny to their list of charges.
On Dec. 10, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office reported that the controversial skeleton Santa display on the Loudoun County Courthouse lawn was vandalized, but this time the perpetrators took a piece of it with them.
The display was first vandalized on Dec. 5. The removal received a plethora of media attention nation-wide. The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors also decided on Dec. 6 to allow the next board to make a decision for next year’s displays on the courthouse lawn.
The owner of the display is Middleburg resident Jeff Heflin Jr., according to Julie Withrow, a Loudoun County administrator.
On Heflin’s application for inclusion in the courthouse display, he described his entry as “art work of Santa on a cross to depict society’s materialistic obsessions and addictions and how it is killing the peace, love, joy and kindness that is supposed to be prevalent during the holiday season.” Heflin is not part of any organization and sponsored the display himself.
According to Kraig Troxell, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, a portion of the display was taken, but he declined to say which part was stolen.
Not only do the vandals face a destruction of property charge if a criminal complaint is filed, but they also face a larceny charge for stealing a piece of the display.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for guarding the displays at the courthouse complex and grounds and the Leesburg Police Department also patrols the surrounding area in Historic Downtown, Troxell said.
The Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have the manpower to specifically guard the displays as a part of its daily job, but deputies plan to take action to try and keep people from vandalizing the displays, Troxell said.
“The agency will enhance our current security measures at the courthouse, to include directed patrols in the area,” Troxell said. “We have security measures for the courthouse and the grounds and because they’re county property or considered county jurisdiction, we will investigate any criminal activity on these grounds.”
A Sheriff’s Office report said the display was put back up on the evening of Dec. 9 and vandalized on Dec. 10. The incident is still under investigation.