MERRY CHRISTMAS! How One Man Is Terrorizing Neighbors With a Hostile Holiday Decoration Display
Homeowners on Fairley Road in Ross Township, Pennsylvania, say their neighbor Bill Ansell is terrorizing them year round with his hostile anti-Christmas spirit.
“Any opportunity he has to make our life a hardship, he does,” resident Chris Hebda told ABC News’ “20/20.”
“He’s an angry person that’s very unstable,” resident Pamela Heck told “20/20.”
Ansell, an electrician, has a display on his yard that features a beheaded choir, a hanging Mickey Mouse and even a urinating Santa Claus that lights up at night.
Neighbors Chris and Joanne Hebda said they have had to stare at the unpleasant decorations for the past six years. Fairley Road is a unique cul-de-sac; a circular street with Ansell’s house right in the middle, surrounded by six other homes. That makes it hard to avoid his handiwork.
“There was a Virgin Mary here, and he placed a knife through her head, right there on the edge of our driveway,” Joanne Hebda told “20/20.” “I thought it was a terroristic threat.”
To make matters worse, his neighbors said, Ansell also tacked up profane signs all over his house attacking the township and neighbors personally.
The worst sign, the neighbors said, included disparaging remarks about neighbor Tom White’s late wife, posted the day after she died.
“Why would somebody even do that?” White told “20/20.”
One sign on Ansell’s home may offer a clue as to why. It says, “This display is dedicated to Ross Township. Shame on you for destroying my display that brought so much joy and happiness to so many people.”
Years ago, Ansell’s home was known for its lustrous lights and dazzling display that attracted many onlookers.
But one Thanksgiving, Ansell’s neighbor Pamela Heck was so blinded by the lights that she asked him to turn them off while her family had dinner.
“It was very unpleasant between us after that,” Heck told “20/20.”
From that minor dispute grew a war, according to neighbors. At night, they say he blasts floodlights into their windows.
“It’ll be 3 o’clock in the morning, and all of the sudden you’ll hear bang, bang, bang,” Jay Londino told “20/20.” “And he’s underneath a tarp with a sledgehammer, hammering in the middle of the night to wake up the entire neighborhood.”
They all feel trapped. Friends and family won’t visit them, and worst of all, they can’t sell their homes.
“You’re a prisoner on your own street right now. It may come down to just leave the house empty and move,” White said.
Ansell wouldn’t speak to “20/20,” but two years ago, he told Pittsburgh’s WPXI-TV, “I used to have a beautiful Christmas display, they hated it. This is my display now. I don’t think it’s against the law to exercise your right to have your own display.”
The Fairley Road homeowners say they are at their wits end. They have repeatedly called police and complained to the township Board of Commissioners, but so far say they have seen little done. Ross Township has fined Ansell for local code violations, and in a statement to “20/20,” the Ross Township said they have “taken and will continue to take appropriate legal action.”
“The Township has taken and will continue to take appropriate legal action,” said Grant Montgomery, president of the Ross Board of Commissioners, in a statement to ABC News.
In August 2014, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, upheld a court order requiring Bill Ansell to clean up his yard and take down the vulgar signs.
To date, Ansell has not complied and township officials won’t say if and how it will enforce the order.