MARIETTA — A corrections officer at the St. Marys Correctional Center is among five people facing criminal charges from a break in and vandalism Sunday at the Lowell American Legion, officials said Thursday.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference Thursday morning to announce arrests and a conclusion of its investigation into the Sunday break in.
“It was a crime of opportunity,” said Sheriff Larry Mincks. “The kids were on foot, climbed on top of the air conditioning unit and up through a window of the legion post.”
Detective Bryan Lockhart said two unnamed juveniles, both 13, are suspected of breaking into Post 64 between 1 and 3 a.m. Sunday.
Then, Lockhart said corrections officer Hunter Henthorne, 22, of 114 Washington St., Marietta, Devin Lindsey, 24, of 408 Marion St., Marietta, and James Herron, 27, of 102 Michigan Ave., Devola, allegedly aided in storage of the stolen money–approximately $5,000– and used some of the funds to purchase weapons.
A fourth adult may also be charged, Lockhart said.
The inside of the post was vandalized, he said.
“They did $10,000 to $20,000 worth of damage to the inside of the post,” Lockhart said. “Countless irreplaceable memorabilia was destroyed, they used kitchen knives to slash seats and threw eggs all over the interior of the post, ruining different items. They plugged the toilet upstairs, and we don’t know how long water was running down through three floors.”
Mincks said the suspects were interviewed Wednesday following anonymous tips to the office’s website and through phone call tips.
“I would hope that (the community is) satisfied with the quick resolution of this case,” said Lockhart. “We’re confident that everybody involved with these recent break-in in Lowell has been identified and will be charged.”
Washington County Veterans Service Commissioner Jared Smith was present for the press conference Thursday and thanked the officers involved for their work on the case.
“I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the veteran community. How quick and expedient you were with this and the use of the tip line, the veteran community is incredibly grateful,” Smith said. “I’d encourage the county as a whole to now help this post recover from the damage. They hold a steak fry every month as a primary fundraiser. The veteran community is strong but to see full support for those and for cleanup days coming would be appreciated.”
Post member James Booth of Lowell also attended the announcement.
“I know our veteran community really felt disrespected by the vandalism, wondering how anyone could do this to veterans,” Booth, a U.S. Army veteran, said. “We, along with the Beverly post, sponsor children’s teams and events in our community and to have this occur the day after a steak fry brought about a lot of anxiety.”
Lockhart said the juveniles will be facing charges of breaking and entering and safe cracking. The adults are looking at charges of felony tampering with evidence and receiving stolen property.
Arraignments are expected in Marietta Municipal Court next week.