Oxford “Grinch” damages local landmark Christmas display, police searching for suspect


OXFORD, Ala. (WIAT) — A man known for spreading Christmas cheer in his community wants to find out who vandalized his elaborate Christmas display.

During the holiday season, Avery Robertson calls himself “Friendship Santa.” He and his family transform their front yard along McIntosh Road into a wonderland that would put the Griswolds to shame.

Robertson told CBS42 News that he has added to his display every year for more than a decade. Local businesses have even chipped in to sponsor the attraction, providing food and goodies for visitors.

Robertson never charges his guests.

“It’s kind of like having a big old family party,” Robertson said. “The kids smile. I ask them about what they want and they light up. I mean, it’s just a big old feeling I get, that’s an enjoyment in itself.”

The giant, hand-made, wooden reindeer have become the centerpiece of the display; “Home of the 17 Foot Rudolph,” is even printed on his business card.

Robertson said he was asleep Thursday night, when his wife heard a loud noise outside and screamed.

“I had a guy come up here and — must’ve been with like a metal pipe, and knocked the legs off some of the reindeer and tore the Rudolph up,” Robertson said. “My wife had seen him through the window and she hollered and he took off running.”

Robertson said he went to the police and filed a report, but investigators were not hopeful that they would catch the Grinch, since Robertson does not have surveillance cameras on his home.

“I was hurt that he’d done it, but I’m not mad,” Robertson said.

With the help of a neighbor, Robertson quickly fixed the injured reindeer. Robertson said he’ll have to wait for the weather to warm up to replace Rudolph’s broken leg, so for now, that reindeer sports a bandage.

Robertson said the latest additions to his display are cameras, “so if he keeps on doing it, he’s gonna get caught.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.