Olympic Kiwanis members Frank Bruni and Tim Crowley work to fix the holiday lights in downtown Port Angeles. (Photo courtesy of Olympic Kiwanis Club)

Olympic Kiwanis members Frank Bruni and Tim Crowley work to fix the holiday lights in downtown Port Angeles. (Photo courtesy of Olympic Kiwanis Club)

Vandals tear down holiday lights in downtown Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — Members of the Olympic Kiwanis Club had to restring holiday lights in downtown Port Angeles after vandals cut or tore down Christmas lights on three streets.

Vandals tore down lights from 21 trees and 19 light poles with 50 strings cut or ripped apart in the area of Front Street around the ice rink, both sides of Laurel Street near the new hotel construction site and parts of North Lincoln Street in front of several restaurants on Friday night or early Saturday morning, according to Tim Crowley, co-chair of the lighting committee at the Olympic Kiwanis Club.

“It’s distressing that someone wants to destroy this annual display that’s beloved in our city. This year, we need the bright beauty of these holiday lights more than ever,” Crowley said.

Some strings were so badly damaged that they could not be repaired and had to be replaced, Crowley said.

Kiwanis Club members spent a couple of hours just taking down the damaged lights because they could be a hazard, then a crew of about eight people Monday spent another two to three hours putting new lights up.

The total damage was about $500, he estimated.

The Port Angeles Downtown Association pays for the lights, while the Kiwanis Club is contracted to put them up and maintain them.

Crowley said there is usually some minor vandalism each year with people taking a light bulb here and there that have to be replaced, but there had never been this level of damage before.

“This is the worst we’ve ever seen,” he said.

He said whoever did it spent a lot of time and energy doing the damage. He estimated it had to have taken the vandals at least 15 to 30 minutes to tear so many lights down on three different streets.

“And it takes some strength to pull those down,” he said. “Somebody’s mad at somebody.”

A report was filed with the Port Angeles Police Department, but Crowley said Tuesday he has not heard of any leads yet. He said April Bellerud, owner of Odyssey Bookshop and president of the Port Angeles Downtown Association, is checking with other businesses owners to see if any have surveillance video that caught the vandalism.

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Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached at [email protected].

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