For about the past 15 years, Sue Bridgman Florist on Warm Springs Road in Ketchum has put up a playful, brightly lit display on the front of the building every Christmas. During the dark hours early Saturday morning, vandals ripped this year’s display down.

Store employee Meggi Corwin said a 15-foot-tall inflatable Rudolph was slashed, a 12-foot-tall orange metal palm tree was dragged into the middle of Warm Springs Road and destroyed and Christmas lights were cut down. Corwin said that amounted to about $2,500 worth of damage. She said the palm tree had been used for the past three years and Rudolph had just been purchased for this year’s display.

Corwin said that according to a witness who passed by the store before and after the damage, the vandalism occurred sometime between 1-2:30 a.m. Saturday.

Ketchum Police Chief Dave Kassner said his department is investigating.

Corwin said her message to the community at this point is, “Thank you for the outpouring of support. We found out how many people love our display!”

That appreciation was expressed in several entries in the Idaho Mountain Express’ Miscellany II section this week.

“Nothing better to do early Saturday morning than to trash holiday decorations that bring smiles to faces young and old?” one entry states. “As my grandkids said after hearing of Rudolph’s demise, ‘Santa knows who you are and will be bringing you a big piece of coal!’”

Corwin said several people have offered to help pay for a new display, and one patron has offered to fund a new Rudolph. She said she hopes to have a new display up by the end of the week, and encouraged other businesses in Ketchum to do more to add to the Christmas cheer downtown.

“We wish everybody a merry Christmas and hope they come to see our new display!” she said.

Email the writer: gmoore@mtexpress.com