Community comes together to raise funds after Beaver County Christmas light display vandalized

BEAVER COUNTY, Pa. — If you drive down Mercer Road during the holiday season you’ll see it.

“I have three children now, all grown, but at the time they were little they wanted me to put some Christmas stuff up so I started and of course it started small,” said Emmett Santillo, whose Christmas Display was vandalized.

Since 1994, the Beaver County display has grown.

“Every year I find new things — there’s a lot of history in the stuff. While my children got me started, then I started working with the Beaver County women’s center,” Santillo said.

Cars line up to drive by leaving donations, which Santillo takes to the women’s center.

“It’s a great way for the community to have something they can enjoy and be able to help an organization that really needs it,” Santillo said.

Santillo started this year’s display around Halloween. He was working to add the final touches before the official Light Up Night when a Grinch quite literally tried to steal his Christmas.

“Somebody came down and just cut through over and cut through,” Santillo said.

Dozens of displays were ruined and thousands of dollars in damages made in one night.

“We don’t have any suspects at this time, but I am asking anyone with any information to call us at the station,” said Chief Jeff Becze with North Sewickley Police.

Becze posted images of the damage on social media, prompting hundreds of community members to step up. While some helped to repair the damage, others donated to a GoFundMe, which Santillo said he will be giving to the women’s shelter.

Already the funds are nearly triple what his display normally raises.

“Like always, good does triumph over evil — that to me is the best part,” Santillo said.

The lights will officially be turned on at 6 p.m. Friday. Until then neighbors have put up flood lights to brighten the yard to deter any further crime.

Click here to donate to the GoFundMe started to help raise funds.

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