Three Payson teenagers are in custody after burglarizing an Elk Ridge LDS meetinghouse. They caused more than $20,000 damage to the building.
On September 12, 2016, just after 10:00 AM, Deputies with the Utah County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of damage to an LDS meetinghouse on Alpine Drive in Elk Ridge in Utah County. A woman who went to the church to practice the organ discovered the damage and contacted the Sheriff's Office. Deputies and investigators found that somebody had entered the church sometime after about 9:00 PM Sunday night. A nearby resident told Deputies he saw several teenage boys dump trash on his lawn Sunday. Deputies were able to locate those boys, two brothers ages 13 and 14, and another boy age 14. All three boys are from Payson and had left home Sunday night without permission from their parents.
As investigators entered the meetinghouse they discovered that the building had sustained extensive damage. Hymn books had been thrown through ceiling tiles in a hallway and small fires had been started in a partitioned class room. The fires were lit in two different plastic garbage cans using hymn books and other paper. Candy and other food items were stolen out of a children's meeting room, along with pens and pencils. The boys also discharged the contents of three fire extinguishers, covering nearly the entire building except the chapel. One of the boys even slept for a period of time in the chapel, near the piano.
One of the 14 year old boys defiantly denied any involvement with this incident. This same boy also lied to investigators about his name. The other 14 year old, and the 13 year old, were more forthcoming and told investigators what they had done. The first 14 year old, while not completely cooperative, eventually admitted to his actions. Investigators learned that the teens had spent several hours inside the church.
Evidence at the scene clearly connected these boys to the damage done to the building. The boys even had evidence of their actions on their clothing and on their bodies. One of the boys had singed hair still stuck to his forehead, apparently from the fires lit in the garbage cans. The boys also had powder from the fire extinguishers on their clothing and on their bodies.
Damage to the building is estimated to be in excess of $20,000.00. The boys were arrested and booked into Slate Canyon Youth Detention Center in Provo. Charges for each of the teens include Burglary (3rd Degree Felony), Criminal Mischief (2nd Degree Felony), Reckless Burning (Class A Misdemeanor), and Theft (Class B Misdemeanor for 2 of the boys, 3rd degree felony for one because of prior convictions). One of the 14 year old boys was also charged with False Personal Information to a Police Officer (Class B Misdemeanor).
For questions contact Sergeant Spencer Cannon, Public Information Officer, Utah County Sheriff's Office. (801)404-1912. Twitter: SGTCannonPIO