4th suspect arrested in church vandalism

Local News
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EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WCIA) — Police arrested a fourth person in connection to vandalism at a church.

Authorities say the suspects were caught on security cameras. Three teens were arrested Friday, February 15; 14-, 16- and 17-year olds. Now, a 19-year old was also arrested.

All are charged with burglary and criminal damage to a place of worship. The 14-year old is also charged with attempted arson.

The adult was arrested late Tuesday night. The 16-year old was released to his parents. The 14- and 17-year olds are in a juvenile detention center.

When there’s not mass, St. Anthony’s Church is quiet. Except for when police say four teens snuck in about 11 pm, Saturday, February 9. Security footage caught them damaging pews and other items.

“The church has cameras in the facility. They reviewed cameras and notified police on the 12th of this month.”

Immediately police say they recognized all four suspects from previous encounters. When arrested, all four confessed to being in the church as well as to other crimes.

“With the 19-year old and  other juveniles involved, they’ve confessed to crimes such as vehicle burglaries throughout the city of Effingham.”

Police say, without security cameras, it would have been difficult to find out who did it and they’re lucky things didn’t end up worse.

“We’re very happy, especially with the church because, the type of crimes involved, they were attempting to light items on fire in the church which could have caused significant damage to the church, if in fact, they were able to get those items lit. One of the individuals involved was charged with attempted arson.”

Police say they’re now investigating the car burglaries the teens confessed to.

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