DISPLAY DAMAGE: Suspect Left License Plate Behind

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Des Moines police have made an arrest in the vandalism case to the Jolly Holiday Lights display in Water Works Park – all because an important piece of evidence was left behind.

Police were called to Water Works Park around 3:00 a.m. Sunday after someone vandalized the light displays, causing $25,000 to $30,000 in damage. A security guard saw the suspect’s vehicle drive away, but was unable to get a license plate number or description.

Later that day, a security guard found a license plate in the debris from the damaged light displays. Police went to the home of the registered owner and found the vehicle believed to have been used in the vandalism. It had damage consistent with damage done to the displays and the park’s gate.

Police say the owner of the vehicle, 20-year-old Justin Arey, admitted to causing the damage with his vehicle.

Arey was arrested and has been charged with first degree criminal mischief. He has bonded out of the Polk County Jail.

Jolly Holiday Lights is an annual fundraiser to gather money for the Make A Wish Foundation.