Vandals destroy holiday decorations, local businesses in Queens

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CORONA, Queens (WABC) -- A community in New York City is looking for the vandals responsible for destroying holiday decorations and local businesses.

Corona, Queens was the epicenter of the epicenter of the COVID pandemic.

So, the council member here wanted to spread some much-needed Christmas spirit. But that spirit didn't even last two days.

Sources say behind the mayhem, may have been gang members.

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"It was just pure destruction right. I mean here's a community that was ravaged by COVID," Councilmember Francisco Moya said. "This really was an opportunity to really bring some holiday cheer to a lot of people that have been suffering."

It was a winter wonderland that was supposed to a bright spot in these dark times, in this dark place.

Corona, a neighborhood consumed by the virus, is looking for joy wherever it can find it.

On Friday night they celebrated, with Saint Nick and his elves on hand.

But early Sunday morning, that joy was dashed.

A giant hole was ripped into the tree, along with broken snowflakes that now litter the park.

Yessenia Calle designed the wonderland with her family.

Her mom and sisters decorated for four days, and her father and uncles created the steel trees that line the installation.

They were bent to submission by the vandals.

"That's actually made by my father and his company," Calle said. "They were made by, actually that's all his brothers that made the welding and all that good stuff."

And it wasn't just the park. Small businesses along this commercial corridor were hit too.

Trash cans were tossed at a pizzeria and at a lemon ice store.

"The owner of the Lemon Ice King came over and he said this is so beautiful I brought my grandkids here and in 40 years we've been here, we've never seen anything like this. And then we wake up to this," Moya said.

Heavy planters and Christmas trees were knocked over at an Italian restaurant.

And the decorations at the councilmember's district office, held down by 400 pounds of sandbags, were vandalized too.

"I don't think kids are doing this. At the level that we had. We had arches of steel. It's hard to bend," Moya said. "The ones that we had in my office are very difficult, you and myself we're young, we're fit, we would not be able to just do it on our own."

Sources say the culprits may have been gang members who police were trying to arrest that night.

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"We're still gonna be here. And it's not gonna stop us. We're gonna be adding new installations here," Moya said.

Surveillance video outside the councilmember's office capturing the vandals would be important for cops to see.

The councilmember says his office just ordered cameras last week.

They're still waiting for them to arrive.

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