STANTON — Two teenagers have been charged after a series of crimes that occurred throughout Vestaburg, including a major vandalism incident at Vestaburg Community School.
Brock Peterson, 17, of Vestaburg, and Joseph DeVuyst, 17, of Riverdale, were charged Friday in 64B District Court in Stanton.
Peterson was charged with 17 crimes, including six counts of breaking and entering a building with intent, five counts of larceny in a building, three counts of malicious destruction of a building less than $200, two counts of malicious destruction of personal property less than $200 and one count of malicious destruction of personal property $1,000 or more but less than $20,000.
DeVuyst was charged with 12 crimes, including four counts of breaking and entering a building with intent, three counts of larceny in a building, two counts of malicious destruction of a building less than $200, one count of malicious destruction of property less than $200, one count of malicious destruction of a building $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 and one count of malicious destruction of personal property $1,000 or more but less than $20,000.
Peterson and DeVuyst are scheduled for a pre-trial next Monday and a preliminary examination next Tuesday in 64B District Court.
A 15-year-old Vestaburg male is also being charged through Montcalm County Probate Court in Stanton. The Daily News does not typically print the names of minors.a
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.
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 — Peterson and the 15-year-old from Vestaburg — live in the same house, but are not related.