'Santa Claus' vandal spray-paints nativity scene in South Philadelphia

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'Santa' vandal spray-paints nativity scene in South Philly. Maggie Kent reports during Action News at 6 p.m. on December 27, 2018.

On Christmas morning, a vandal dressed as Santa Claus - white beard and all - was not out delivering present in South Philadelphia.

He had a different agenda, aimed at the nativity on the corner of 9th and Montrose streets in the heart of the Italian Market.

"Santa comes down our street, Montrose Street, carrying the sack and then proceeds to spray-paint," Patricia Ciliberti said.
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Raw Video: Surveillane video of 'Santa Claus' vandal spray-paints nativity scene in South Philadelphia.



The manger scene is now spray-painted red, green, gold, and silver. It was once all white, an intentional choice made by the 9th Street Business Association.

"It covers every Christian, no matter what your ethnic background, it's all white, it's a silhouette, and you get your own interpretation of it," Ciliberti said.

This isn't the first time this year the manger has been targeted.

On Dec. 22, someone stole part of the display.

"The holy family was taken, it was stolen. The person was caught and the piece was returned. We, therefore, decided not to press charges," Ciliberti said.

And now this.

"It really destroyed my Christmas. I know it sounds silly over a nativity- but what else is Christmas? That is Christmas," Ciliberti said.

Police have collected the video from neighboring stores that shows the vandal with a sack full of spray paint.

They are looking to identify the person responsible.

The nativity is now blocked off with caution tape.

As for the business association, they'll be chipping in for a new nativity, one that hides behind safety glass.

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