VESTABURG — Three teenagers have been arrested for a series of crimes that occurred throughout Vestaburg, including a major vandalism incident at Vestaburg Community School.
A 17-year-old Vestaburg man is set to be charged with 17 felony and misdemeanor crimes. He is out of jail on a $3,000 bond.
A 17-year-old Riverdale man is set to be charged with 12 felony and misdemeanor crimes. He is out of jail on a $2,000 bond.
Both 17-year-olds are scheduled to be arraigned Friday in 64B District Court in Stanton.
A 15-year-old Vestaburg male will also be charged through Montcalm County Probate Court in Stanton.
Montcalm County Sheriff’s deputies responded to six breaking and entering incidents from July 3 through July 15 in the Vestaburg area.
According to Det. Sgt. Tom Goerge, Walker’s of Vestaburg was broken into three times and sustained about $4,000 in damages, including the theft of collectible replica farm equipment and vehicles.
Vestaburg Cart Speed Shop was broken into and sustained about $6,200 in damages, including the theft of racing equipment and tools.
Vestaburg Automotive was broken into and sustained several hundred dollars’ worth of damages.
Vestaburg Community School was broken into and vandalized, sustaining at least $20,000 in damages. Vandals used a cinderblock to break through a skylight in the school’s ceiling. From there, they used the cinderblock and a hammer to break into the teacher’s lounge and then the kindergarten wing, upper elementary and high school lobby. A kindergarten classroom sustained the most damage.
According to Goerge, numerous people in the Vestaburg community called the sheriff’s office with tips about the suspects.
Through investigation, detectives were able to issue a search warrant at a Vestaburg home and recover more than 160 stolen pieces of property, including tools, racing apparel and numerous collector’s grade toy replica farm equipment pieces. The majority of the stolen pieces have been returned to the owners.
Although the collectible replica farm equipment and vehicles were recovered, they had been removed from their boxes and the boxes had been destroyed, deeply hurting the collector’s value of the items.
“We had people calling in tips,” Goerge said. “Some anonymous tips came through. We were appreciative of the tips that came in from the community. No one piece was the smoking gun, but every little piece came together to help solve the entire puzzle.”
Goerge said when questioned, all three teens confessed to the crimes. He said they did not give a reason for the thefts or the school vandalism.
Two of the teens — the 17-year-old from Vestaburg and the 15-year-old from Vestaburg — live in the same house, but are not related.
“We put a lot of work into this case, including at least 40 hours of overtime as well,” Goerge said.