Montgomery County police arrested an 18-year old Beltsville man yesterday and charged him with vandalism in connection with a bizarre early-morning assault on a Silver Spring home's outdoor Christmas decorations.

Dean William Meines of 9348 Cherry Hill Rd. was released on bond. His trial has been set for March 17 in district court.

Meines said yesterday that he and a 17-year old Springbrook High School student ventured on to the front yard of Evelyn Wills' home at 12423 Kemp Mill Rd. around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. Another 17-year old Springbrook student waited in Meines' burgundy Buick.

The trio had been drinking, Meines recalled in an interview yesterday, when he "got a stupid idea" to tip over the Santa Claus that was part of the Willses' Christmas decorations, an annual extravaganza of lights, rooftop reindeer and a life-sized nativity scene.

"I don't mind Christmas decorations," Meines said. "But they do it up too much, it's an eyesore."

Meines was caught when members of the Wills family tackled him in the front yard and the two family dogs -- a Great Dane and a small Pomeranian -- bit him in the leg.His two other companions fled, according to Meines.

County police took Meines to Holy Cross Hospital where he was X-rayed and released.

Around 4:30 a.m. that morning three shotgun blasts ripped through the house, barely missing many of the 15 members of the Wills family sleeping inside.

After Evelyn Wills swore out a warrant Wednesday afternoon, Meines was arrested and charged wth vandalism, a misdemeanor.If convicted Meines could be sentenced to three years in jail and fined $2,500.

Police are still investigating the shooting spree. No arrests have been made so far.