ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – Three people were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly vandalizing 14 churches belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
St. George Police have identified the suspects as Nathan David Monroy, 18, Zachary Marton Steele, 18, and an unidentified 17-year-old.
Police say at least 14 churches were found vandalized throughout the cities of St. George, Hurricane and Washington City. The estimated cost of damages is over $5,000.
Authorities first received calls on July 20 from an eyewitness reporting several people breaking windows at a church near 3891 E Desert Canyons Parkway around midnight. At that time, police say another church with a “similar broken window” was found in Washington City the night before. While inspecting, police later discovered 14 churches had been damaged.
Police say the eyewitness provided a “very specific” vehicle description along with suspect descriptions. Additional tips were received through social media, which helped identify three suspects.
During questioning, police say two suspects admitted to their involvement in vandalizing the churches. The third suspect was later found and taken into custody by Washington City Police officers.
Authorities say no other nearby churches of other denominations were attacked so far.
Both 18-year-olds were arrested and booked on charges of criminal mischief which is a second-degree felony. The 17-year-old was arrested and booked into the Dixie Area Detention Center.
“These arrests stem from detailed witness accounts, tips from concerned citizens and the teamwork of Hurricane City Police Department, Washington City Police Department and the St. George Police Department, authorities say. “Thank you to the citizens who take ownership in our community in reporting suspicious activity and providing tips to help solve these crimes.”