It happens every year, but can still put quite a damper on the holiday season: Vandals and thieves visiting New Jersey homes, damaging displays and stealing goods and property. This year, unfortunately, has been no exception.

One of the most recent incidents was reported by 6ABC Action News in Burlington Township, where resident Ron Murdza returned home Sunday night to find money had been taken from a charity collection box outside his home. The Murdzas have one of the more prominent Christmas displays in the area, the report said, and cash donations -- which often total hundreds of dollars per night -- are earmarked for the township food pantry.

In Evesham, reported, someone apparently cut three wires on a string of dreidel lights right after those decorations had been put up on Dec. 4. One of the homeowners in that case, Sharon Brophy, was quoted in the report as saying she hoped the vandalism was not a targeted event, like swastikas and other hateful marks which have shown up across the country in the wake of last month's presidential election.

Brophy and her husband, Jim, told that it was the second consecutive year their Hanukkah decorations had been damaged.

There has also been an arrest in an incident which took place very early in the Christmas season, on the last day of November. reported the arrest of a 44-year-old Elizabeth woman, Chantell Wright, who is accused of stealing Christmas packages from a front porch in the Colonia section of Woodbridge. The theft was recorded on a surveillance camera.

If there is one positive to be drawn from New Jersey's light displays this season, it is surely in Carneys Point, where 6ABC reported that homeowner Mark Siebert proposed to his girlfriend by spelling out "Will You Marry Me" in Christmas lights on his roof.

The girlfriend, Erin Fisher, said yes.

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email


More From 105.7 The Hawk