Vandal trio confesses

Damage to the street sign at Preach Ministries in Seymour is estimated at more than $3,000.

A vandalism spree in the city of Seymour that struck the Seymour Community Library, Seymour Elementary School, Seymour Middle School, Seymour YMCA and the Preach Ministries building in the former H.D. Lee Company plant has resulted in the confessions of the three local teenagers responsible for the widespread damage estimated at nearly $25,000.

Confessing to the crimes were a trio of Seymour teenagers, all students of the Seymour R-II School District, with officers noting that the two girls involved in the vandalism didn’t seem remorseful, while the boy who took part in the melee was crying and apologized for his actions.

“We don’t want to go into detail about how we found the teens who were responsible, but we had both video footage and witnesses,” noted Patrolman Steven Pogue of the Seymour Police Department, who worked the case with Cpl. Chase Davis, the department’s detective.

“Once we received a confession from one (of the teenagers), the dominoes began to fall, and we got all three of them to confess to their actions. We also have physical evidence from the crimes. There is no doubt who was involved and how they were involved.”

Seymour Police Chief Bob Paudert said the big question is what’s next.

“Bottom line, we want for these juveniles or their legal  guardians to provide full restitution to the victims,” Paudert said. “How we proceed in terms of charging this and prosecuting it will depend on the best route for giving financial relief to the victims.”

Pogue said the confessions were obtained last Tuesday, June 4, the day after the vandalism was discovered around 6:15 a.m. Monday, June 3. Within the city of Seymour, there were more than 15 areas spray painted with pornographic and vulgar messages. Colors of paint used included red, blue, purple and black. Virtually all of the spray painting was either pornographic or vulgar, including images of body parts and nasty words.

In addition to the five aforementioned locations, the home of Gary and Nancy Chandler on Water Street also was struck by the vandals.

“From our investigation, we learned that this home was the initial target,” Pogue said. “Two of the teenage girls said they just didn’t like the Chandlers’ granddaughter, so they were going to vandalize that home.”

“On the way to that home, they passed the school, and it appears that’s when they decided to spray paint the middle school, the library, the elementary, the YMCA and also the Preach Ministries property,” Davis added. “Even a slide at the elementary was painted, as was a sidewalk between the library and the YMCA. It was in this area that we recovered an empty can of spray paint used in the vandalism.”

Davis and Pogue questioned each of the three teenagers with their guardians or parents.

“They admitted to sneaking out early Monday morning (June 3) and spray painting in town,” Pogue said. “In our first interview with one of the girls, she informed us of the identities of the other boy and girl involved. From there, we interviewed the boy, then the other girl, and we received full confessions from both.”

Davis said they were disappointed that two of the three teenage vandals weren’t remorseful.

“I truly believe that both girls aren’t sorry for what they did,” he noted. “I do believe the boy was very sorry and felt bad about his actions.”

Nancy Chandler said the boy came to her home and personally apologized for his actions soon after he spoke with the police.

“We feel (the boy) got caught up in the act and truly feels bad about what he did,” Chandler said.

“Our family forgives him. He made a bad mistake, and we accepted his apology when he gave it.”

Two of the teenagers live inside the city limits, while the other lives about three miles northeast of Seymour.

Pogue’s official three-page report said the cost of damages at the local school currently are estimated at $1,293.07.

Paudert said damages to city property haven’t yet been fully calculated, but he said damage, including labor and materials, “will be in five figures for sure.”

Dr. Paul Pritchard at Preach Ministries said last Friday that damage costs to his buildings also will be high.

“The sign they damaged cost more than $3,000, and we will have to replace all of the metal on the north and west sides of our building in the parking lot, which will be several thousands of dollars,” he said.

Chandler said the garage door damaged by the spray paint will have to be replaced at a cost of more than $1,000.

Damages to three areas at the Seymour YMCA haven’t yet been tabulated.

“In many instances, the city and school workers were able to remove the nasty images and words spray painted on their buildings, but the damage remains,” Paudert said.

“For example, they removed the spray paint over at Preach Ministries, but the metal was faded and ruined in the process. It will have to be replaced.”

Paudert added that his officers this summer plan to  strictly enforce the city’s curfew for children.

“We’ve got too many kids roaming around Seymour late at night in violation of our ordinance,” he said.

“That’s going to end.”

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