Four local teenagers were arrested May 25 following vandalism at the Vader City Jail and Vader Assembly of God, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.
Three boys and one girl, described as ages 14 to 16, were caught on camera around 10:30 p.m. May 24 kicking in the door of the jail, which is currently maintained as a historical site by the city, and later removing exterior cameras from the church, located across the street from the jail, before discarding them in nearby yards.
A responding deputy spoke with the pastor of the church May 25, who provided access to surveillance footage stored inside the church, where the faces of all four suspects, as well as their alleged vandalism, were captured on video.
While responding to the jail to survey the damage, which included a large hole kicked into the bottom of the door, the deputy found the American flag on a pole outside the jail had been burned and partially tied in a knot, while a pair of lights used to illuminate the flag had been damaged and discarded nearby.
Through investigation, the deputy identified the suspects and made contact with the first pair, two brothers, at their residence on Annonen Rd. The suspects admitted to their involvement in the vandalism, and confirmed the identities of the other two suspects, a brother and sister, and indicated the brother of the other two had been the “instigator,” according to the report.
The two stated, after kicking in the door of the jail and taking down the cameras, they later returned with the instigator around midnight, but without his sister, at which time they said the instigator burned the flag, damaged the lights and took a piece of the flag with him, which reportedly has yet to be recovered.
The deputy later contacted the other suspects at their residence on B. St., at which time the two said they were unaware of the events in question and refused to offer a statement, according to the report.
Based on the totality of evidence, all four were booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center on charges of third-degree malicious mischief, third-degree theft, and criminal conspiracy. It was also noted the pair of brothers had already been on probation through Lewis County Juvenile Court.
It was reported a phone line outside the church had also been damaged by the suspects, as well as the panel to an electrical box outside the building. The total estimated loss is $110 to the church and $270 to the jail.