By Patrick Yost
Three teens and three juveniles; ages 10–years–old, 11–years–old and 14–years–old have been arrested and charged with criminal damage to property and other charges in relation to the destruction of property on a Morgan County farm.
According to Capt. Chris Bish, Investigations Division, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, the six individuals were all arrested on July 12 after a nearly month–long investigation into the destruction of nine cabins on a large farm off Bethany Road.
Bish said between June 20 and June 27 over several days authorities allege that the youths smashed nearly every window on all of the cabins, damaged artifacts and sprayed fire extinguisher contents throughout the buildings. Damage estimates are more than $15,000, he said.
Arrested and charged in the incident are Nathan N. Bates, 17, Madison; Elijah G. Peace, 17, Madison and Wyatt L. Smith, 18, Greensboro.
Bates and Peace are charged with criminal damage to property. Smith has been charged with criminal damage to property and burglary. Bish said investigators allege that Smith took some ammunition from one of the buildings.
“They unleashed havoc on the property,” Bish said.
He said authorities have filed juvenile complaints against the three juveniles and they will face hearings in the Morgan County Juvenile Court.
The three juveniles were released to the custody of their parents.
Bish said the juveniles were hanging out with the arrested teens and that some of the youth had said they “had nothing else to do…”
“It’s a big deal. Parents assume their kids are hanging around with older kids who are making good choices…”
He said law enforcement is seeking, among other penalties, restitution for the damage to the property.
Bish credited Sgt. Chad Lanier, Deputy Joseph Pritchett and Crime Scene Specialist Ellen Welch for working the investigation and generating information towards the arrest. “It was good, old–fashioned police work,” he said.