Three teens admit to vandalizing churches
MINDEN – Three 17-year-olds accused of vandalizing six Carson Valley churches with spray paint that depicted “666,” upside-down crosses and obscenities, admitted their guilt Monday in juvenile court.
The teens admitted petitions charging them with damaging property used for religious purposes.
One was also was charged with willful injury to property for slashing two tires on a church daycare van. Another was charged with graffiti at one of the churches.
“I spray-painted the doors, walls, and windows with obscenities toward God,” one of the boys admitted. “There was no reason.”
He also said he cut the tires on the left side of the Trinity Lutheran Church daycare van.
“I spray-painted ‘666’ and upside-down crosses at two churches,” another one said.
He told District Judge Michael Gibbons that he was picked up in the middle of the vandalism spree that covered 20 miles from north Douglas County to the Gardnerville Ranchos.
One of the teens, a girl, said she spray-painted three of the churches. She was the only one who tied the vandalism to the date, June 6, 2006.
She told Gibbons that all the participants came up with the idea, motivated by the date.
Jonathan M. Walker, 19, is set to appear in East Fork Justice Court today on six gross misdemeanor counts of damage to property used for religious purposes.
He is in Douglas County Jail on $50,000 bail.
On Monday, Gibbons released two of the teens from juvenile detention.
He told the parents of all three juveniles that they were responsible for their children’s behavior and were to contact authorities if the teens violated conditions of their release.
Probation officer John Enos asked the judge to leave the boys in detention.
“They’re a danger to society, danger to the community and danger to themselves,” Enos said.
He said the boys were transient, “living in an old Ford Explorer.”
Enos said when the boys were questioned, one said he lived in the van “so we could do anything we wanted to do.”
The boy’s mother said her son had left home because he refused to follow the rules. But his lawyer, Tod Young, said the boy was attending Douglas High School as a junior and needed to take finals which he could not do at the detention center.
“Your mother has indicated you are out of control,” Gibbons told the teen.
“I will follow all her rules,” the defendant said.
Gibbons released one of the teens, but ordered him to stay at the juvenile probation office after school until his mother gets home from work.
“I hope you understand release is a privilege,” Gibbons said. “You are to obey all the rules.”
Gibbons set a July 10 disposition hearing for the juveniles. Punishment could range from probation to confinement in a juvenile facility.
Arrests were made in the case about 36 hours after vandals used black spray paint to write profane remarks, the numbers 666, upside-down crosses and references to Satan at the churches.
The suspects were turned in by a parent who overheard them talking about the vandalism.
The juveniles are subject to random search and seizure for indications of drug or alcohol, paraphernalia, spray paint or stolen property.
“Show me that you are using this time productively, to pay back the people that you’ve hurt,” Gibbons said.
Damage was discovered at Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Gall Catholic Church and Carson Valley United Methodist Church in Gardnerville, Day Springs Christian Assembly on Tillman Lane in the Gardnerville Ranchos and Hilltop Community Church and Shepherd of the Sierra Church in northern Douglas County.
Spray paint also was discovered at Douglas High School and town homes on Ironwood Drive.
The graffiti was quickly cleaned up by church members and other volunteers.