Colerain Township, OH – Police have arrested two teenagers who twice vandalized a Christmas display set up for a toddler dying of cancer.
Doctors have told the parents of two-year-old Brody Allen that their toddler will not live to see Christmas, so they decided to celebrate early, WCPO reported.
The Allen family decided to put up Christmas decorations for the little boy who had so loved the holiday lights the year before, after doctors told them Brody had only weeks to live.
“When Brody’s chemo treatment journey ended, we made a promise to each other that we were going to make each and every single day that he had left better than the next,” said McKenzie Allen, Brody’s older sister.
“And we wanted to do everything that we could and give him as much joy and happiness that we could, even though he only has a short time left,” McKenzie explained.
The Allens shared their plan on social media, and their neighbors got on board, too. Cards and gifts have been arriving daily from all over the world since the little boy’s fate became public.
Shortly after the colorful displays, which included inflatables and many feet of lights, were established, vandals came during the night and slashed several of the inflatable decorations, including Santa. FOX News reported.
Perry Matten, a neighbor who decorated for Brody, told WCPO that he’s patched up decorations twice already.
“It’s nice seeing the love, but then you got that 0.1 percent that want to kind of ruin it for that little boy, and I just don’t get it, just cowards,” Matten said.
Todd Allen, Brody’s father, told WCPO it was hard to see vandals disrespecting his little boy’s last wish, but said it hadn’t dampened their enthusiasm.
“It's Christmas - you can pop Santa, we're just going to put him right back up,” Allen said. “You can't break Christmas."
Watchful neighbors were paying attention at about 11 p.m. on Sept. 19, and saw two teenage boys slashing decoration on Niagara, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
The neighbor, who had also decorated for Brody, was driving in the neighborhood when he saw the underage vandals at work.
He called the police, and officers responded quickly, catching one of the teenage boys.
The second suspect was apprehended shortly thereafter, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
Colerain Township Police Chief Mark Denney said both teenagers were interviewed, and confessed to slashing the inflatable Christmas decorations.
Police have not identified the two juvenile offenders, but confirm they were both transported to juvenile detention, and that criminal charges have been filed against them, WCPO reported.
Chief Denney promised that the police department would continue to vigilantly patrol the neighborhood, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
The neighborhood celebrated the capture of the mean-spirited vandals.
"This shows what a great community can do when everyone works together," Lori McMullen, a board member for community group A Greater Northbrook, told the newspaper. "Northbrook is unstoppable now. All it took was empowering residents with the task of looking out for one another. Merry Christmas."
Neighbor Renee Butler and her husband, who made the repairs to some of the damaged and deflated decorations, said the arrests gave her some peace of mind.
But she’s not confident that all of those responsible have been caught.
"I am super happy that they got them, but I have a feeling there's more out there," Butler told WCPO. "There's a group of them."
"It's not fair for that little boy," she said.
A group of neighbors met at a nearby church on Thursday evening and went Christmas caroling at the Allen’s house.