Vandals cut 28 Halloween inflatables at Richland home known for holiday decorations

If you live in Richland, chances are you will recognize a house on McPherson Avenue that goes all out with decorations for the holidays. It’s been a tradition for more than 20 years.

This year everything seemed normal for Halloween. Agnes Weins, who has lived in her home for more than 45 years, got help from her family members, Michael Finnestad and Stephanie Shepard. They put up 28 inflatables, but on Oct. 16 something happened.

“Somebody came through with a knife and slashed every single one of them,” Finnestad said. “All the Halloween decorations.”

Weins and Shepard looked out their window and saw inflatables on the ground that once stood tall. The damages were about $2,500. For the family, it took their breath away.

“Sadness. Why would somebody do that?” Finnestad said. “It’s a house that so many people look forward to driving by every holiday.”

Even the neighbor across the street had one of their decorations sliced. The family thought about not putting up decorations for Thanksgiving.

“They were just kind of like, well if this is how people are going to be now why bother continuing to do it,” Finnestad explained.

However, he said they weren’t going to let the culprits win.

“My wife brought her sewing machine over and they plugged it — one at a time plugged them in, let it air up, find the rips, sew them up, plug it in again, find what you might have missed or what still wasn’t quite fixed right,” he said.

The repairs took about 12 hours. The family saved 27 of the 28 inflatables. They filed a police report, but no leads so far. Finnestad has installed security cameras just in case something like this happens again.

One neighbor has offered a $100 reward to find the vandals responsible. Finnestad couldn’t believe that kind of community response.

“It’s amazing. It just shows that– while there are people out there that you can’t understand why they do the things they do, there’s plenty of good people out there that want to have the right thing done in any situation,” he said.

The family got the decorations back up before Halloween came. Now, they’ve changed the scenery. Finnestad has put up Thanksgiving inflatables on the lawn, excited to see the community’s reaction.

“It’s not just us as our family, but like the people that drive by the house,” he explained. “Just inspires a sense of cheer for every holiday that comes around. It’s nice to see it all up again.”

If you know anything about the vandalism or saw anything suspicious that night, you’re asked to call the Richland Police Department.