Police identify cemetery vandals as group of juveniles

A group of juveniles were responsible for a string of vandalisms in the Russian Orthodox Cemetery. Their case will be processed the state’s juvenile court system. (Photo courtesy of Akiko Noguchi)
A group of juveniles were responsible for a string of vandalisms in the Russian Orthodox Cemetery. Their case will be processed the state’s juvenile court system. (Photo courtesy of Akiko Noguchi)

Sitka Police caught the culprits behind a series of vandalisms in a 200-year-old cemetery. The police acted on a handful of tips from citizens, after knocking on doors for information and offering a $200 reward.

Lance Ewers, the Sitka Police Lieutenant, described the culprits as a small group of juveniles between the ages of 10 and 12.  If they had been adults, the vandalism would have constituted a Class C felony.

Since the culprits are under the age of 18, their case will be processed by the State of Alaska’s juvenile justice system. Ewers hoped the process would, “give these kids the help they need and get them educated about what appropriate behaviors are and introduce the consequences. This doesn’t have to happen again, so I’m happy about that.”

The vandals struck three times in the past two months, permanently damaging a dozen headstones, some of which were over 400 lbs.

The most recent episode was this weekend (10-24-15). As with the previous two instances, cadets from Sitka’s Public Safety Training Academy volunteered to set the headstones upright within 48 hours.

Ewers says that although this group has been caught, the police department will keep night vision cameras installed in the cemetery to catch any copycat behavior.