DOWAGIAC, Mich. – Riverside Cemetery in Dowagiac was badly vandalized this past Sunday night, and Wednesday afternoon, a teenager was in court and formally charged with the crime.
Damage is estimated at $17,000.
Police say 19-year old Enos Dominique-Wolfgang Butrick III was arrested and faces several charges in the destruction.
"Several stones are tipped over, knocked over," said Dowagiac Deputy Police Chief Steve Grinnewald. "A lot of this stuff can't be replaced."
61 headstones are ruined because police say Butrick wanted to have some fun.
"Basically, was bored didn't have anything else to do and was looking for excitement," Grinnewald said.
Grinnewald on Wednesday walked WSBT through the devastation.
Marble is shattered, and family plots are broken to pieces.
"It sickens you that this happened here," he said.
Many of the headstones destroyed are extremely old and that's why police are having a difficult time finding family members to contact about all this destruction.
"The city maintains the cemetery, so they're looking at records on plot numbers and owners to see who purchased them to see if we can tie back some names," Grinnewald said.
Police said Butrick admits to destroying the headstones.
He also admitted to breaking windows, lights and decorations at a golf course across the street adding to his long list of charges.
And Butrick didn't act alone. Police are looking for his partner in crime.
The city will rebuild and repair what they can, but problems where headstones are cracked in half are too difficult to repair. The city repairing those headstones could cause more damage in the long run.
Police say Butrick gave his own identity away.
He called police saying he was robbed when in reality, he lost his cell phone and wallet in the cemetary while destroying the headstones.
Butrick tried to cover up it up before police connected him to the crime.
He faces five charges:
- Conspiracy to commit malicious destruction of tombs and memorials $1,000-$20,000 with a maximum penalty if convicted of 5 years and/or $20,000
- Malicious destruction of tombs and memorials $1,000-$20,000 with a maximum penalty if convicted of 5 years and/or $10,000
- Conspiracy to commit malicious destruction of personal property $1,000 - $20,000 with a maximum penalty if convicted of 5 years and/or $20,000
- Malicious destruction of personal property $1,000-$20,000 with a maximum penalty if convicted of 5 years and/or $10,000 or 3 times the amount of destruction or injury, whichever is greater
- Conspiracy to commit false report of a felony with a maximum penalty if convicted of 4 years and/or $12,000 and Filing a false report of a felony with a maximum penalty if convicted of 4 years and/or $2,000
Bond has been set at $20,000. A pre-preliminary exam date is scheduled for December 12, and a preliminary exam will follow the next day. Both of those hearings will be in front of Judge Stacey Rentfrow.