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‘It broke our spirit’: well-known home done with decorations after theft spree

WATCH: A Regina homeowner whose yard is well-known for its festive decorations is leaving his lawn bare this year after non-stop theft.

A Regina couple’s well-known lawn is going to look a little less spooky than normal this Halloween, and they say constant crime is to blame.

Over the course of about five years, Roch Dupont and his wife have transformed their home on the corner of Regina Avenue and Retallack Street into a neighbourhood landmark.

READ MORE: Newly rebuilt after fire, Regina Little Free Library vandalized again

From Halloween to Christmas, Valentine’s Day to Cinco de Mayo, the couple have come up with a festive display for nearly every occasion.

“We do it because we like to see people happy. We see how happy it makes them and also it allows us to connect with our community,” Dupont explained.

The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion.
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion. Supplied / Roch Dupont
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion.
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion. Supplied / Roch Dupont
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion.
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion. Supplied / Roch Dupont
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion.
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion. Supplied / Roch Dupont
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion.
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion. Supplied / Roch Dupont
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion.
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion. Supplied / Roch Dupont
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion.
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion. Supplied / Roch Dupont
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion.
The Duponts have a festive vision for nearly every occasion. Supplied / Roch Dupont

While the venture has cost the Duponts thousands of dollars and some of the displays take over a month to construct, they’ve always maintained the results are worth the work. Until now.

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After dealing with constant theft and vandalism since they moved into the home five years ago, spurred on by the recent theft of a $300 LED willow tree, the couple is saying “enough is enough.”

A sign dictates Roch Dupont’s clear intentions to stop decorating his lawn.
A sign dictates Roch Dupont’s clear intentions to stop decorating his lawn. Connor O'Donovan

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“Theft’s pretty much been a problem since the start. People steal lights and timers. We used to put out lasers but as soon as you’d put them out they’d disappear.”

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A surveillance video appears to show a man about to steal an LED willow tree from Roch Dupont’s yard on Sept. 2, 2019.
A surveillance video appears to show a man about to steal an LED willow tree from Roch Dupont’s yard on Sept. 2, 2019. Supplied

“It’s just gotten worse within the last few months,” Dupont told Global News outside of his home Thursday, where a freshly painted sign saying “too many thefts, no more decorations” sits.

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Dupont said over the past few seasons, expensive items like blow-up reindeer and sleds have gone missing. It’s not just lawn decorations that are at risk either.

“We’ve become so worried that every time we hear a car door at three or four in the morning we can’t sleep. We’re saying ‘OK, who’s coming to steal stuff now?’ They’re stealing stuff from our vehicles.”

READ MORE: Surveillance video appears to show person running away from ‘suspicious’ fire

The couple secured decorations with ropes, wires and chains and installed motion-sensing lights and surveillance cameras to no avail.

“After a while, I said ‘what’s the point? I’m spending more time trying to protect the stiff than putting stuff out to enjoy and be happy,'” Dupont said.

Dupont points to the recent disappearance of an LED Willow Tree that he purchased for his wife as the straw that broke the camels back.

“It broke our spirit. I decided to put the sign up because I just don’t have the energy to ask ‘while I’m putting something up, is this going to be stolen a week from now?'”

Data from the Regina Police Service’s Community Crime Report shows a slow increase in “other theft under $5,000” from 2015-18.
Data from the Regina Police Service’s Community Crime Report shows a slow increase in “other theft under $5,000” from 2015-18. Global News

On Halloweens past, Dupont said hundreds of children and adults alike have lined up to take in the homeowner’s haunting front yard display. Each Christmas, the Dupont lawn would overrun with candy canes, snowmen, and giant inflatable reindeer.

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“We’ve had tourists coming from the airport, and they stop. Tourists from Japan, England, France and more have stopped and knocked on our,” Dupont said. “They’ll say ‘we don’t see that in our country.’ We’ve met a lot of people by making these displays.”

Dupont isn’t ruling out one day returning his lawn to its festive glory, but he told Global News it won’t happen this year. For now, he has a message for past and would-be thieves.

“I know you’ve probably got a drug problem or whatever but don’t pick on us, we’re just trying to make everybody happy,” Dupont said. “All I can say is you just gotta get your life in order.”

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