Teens face felony charges in vandalism case
MILTON Two teens each face a felony charge of criminal damage to religious property stemming from the vandalism to headstones at a Milton cemetery.
Milton Police Lt. John Conger said a 16-year-old Janesville boy and a 16-year-old Milton boy were referred to the Rock County District Attorney’s Office on the felony charges after five families reported damage to family headstones.
The charges were requested because the headstones had religious symbolism such as Bible verses and crosses, Conger said.
“We don’t have any reason to believe they were necessarily targeting them because they were religious, but that was the appropriate charge,” he said.
The boys were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of vandalizing 40 headstones May 25 at Milton Cemetery, 123 N. Janesville St., causing more than $60,000 in damage, Conger said. A final damage estimate won’t be known until headstones are repaired.
The city has spent $2,500 for repairs to the cemetery, which is city owned. City officials will pursue restitution.
Milton police urged headstone owners to identify themselves as vandalism victims after the incident. Families came forward Thursday after local media reported the crime, Conger said.
The Janesville boy is being held at the Rock County Juvenile Detention Center on suspicion of probation violation, and the Milton boy has been released to his family, Conger said. The boys also have been referred on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct.
The teens do not yet have court dates, Conger said.
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By GAZETTE STAFF 05/10/13