Chris Leiszler was sick of having his Halloween decorations stolen and pumpkins smashed.
As WDAF reports, after having his front porch vandalized year after year, the dad from Lawrence, Kansas, installed cameras at his house.
We have had people come and smash our pumpkins usually in the middle of the night for the last five or six years at least,” he told Inside Edition.
Leiszler told the Wichita Eagle they had a pretty good idea who was responsible after a Halloween decoration stolen from their home last year showed up in a fraternity parking lot at the University of Kansas. The family’s neighborhood is home to several frat houses, and they assumed the annual Halloween vandalism was part of a frat prank.
Tired of dealing with the mess and theft, the family started bringing in their pumpkins at night and put up security cameras. But that meant they were able to view this year’s destruction as it happened. Leiszler told the Eagle that he and his wife were watching helplessly as a man walked up to their front porch and deliberately smashed their pumpkins:
“We were walking around after dinner in downtown Lawrence when my wife and I simultaneously got alerts on our phones that the camera had started recording. We saw it happen in real time, and there wasn’t a thing we could do about it. We were obviously fuming mad, so we just ended our fun evening then and there.”
The audacity of smashing the pumpkins in broad daylight left the dad furious. Determined to catch the vandal, he posted the footage of the act on Facebook along with a picture of his two young sons, aged 6 and 9. He captioned the post, “If you happen to recognize the jerk in the video, let him know that the two guys in the picture would like to have a word with him.”
Accompanied by his sons, Leiszler took the video to the neighborhood fraternities, hoping someone would be willing to identify the man who smashed the pumpkins, but he had no luck. He filed a police report for the vandalism and told the Eagle:
“We’d really like these people to be held accountable for their actions. More than anything, I’d like him to meet my sons face to face and apologize to them. And even though they’re less than half his age, maybe he could learn a thing or two from them about being mature and treating other people with respect.”
Finally, the dad’s appeals to find the vandal paid off. According to the University Daily Kansan, two anonymous sources passed on a tip that the pumpkin smasher was a pledge from the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. When Leiszler showed up at the frat house with a police officer, the house mother identified the vandal and his accomplices.
WE FOUND HIM!!! Some anonymous tipsters delivered the message to a long-time friend of mine, who in turn passed the…
The president of the fraternity issued an apology to the family through the University Daily Kansan, stating that smashing the pumpkins was both “stupid” and “unacceptable”:
These actions go against the values of our Fraternity and show an embarrassing lack of judgement. We are investigating the matter through our honor board process, which holds members accountable for their actions. Further, any individuals involved will apologize to the family in person and replace the damaged property.
Leiszler said he didn’t plan to press charges if they received a sincere apology. However, he does want the pumpkin vandals to do a community service project — and he’s asking for ideas via Facebook. He told the University Daily Kansan that vandalism pranks like this discourage neighbors from decorating and “puts a damper” on the holiday:
“We are very happy that we caught them, and we are hopeful that other students who might make a stupid decision to vandalize property will see the national attention that their senseless actions can garner. I don’t think anyone would like to see a video of themselves smashing some kids’ pumpkins show up on Inside Edition!”