ERWIN — Theft and vandalism charges are pending against a trio of local juveniles who Unicoi County police officials say spray- painted “obscene, vulgar and satanic” graffiti on several county churches, buildings and vehicles.
On July 9, a theft and vandalism report was made to both the Sheriff’s Department and the Erwin Police Department, a release issued by the sheriff’s department Thursday said.
According to Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department Administrative Assistant Craig Masters, on July 8, two vehicles on Harris Street, a church bus parked at Evergreen Baptist Church and the church itself had been spray painted. Three other buildings in the Evergreen community — two outbuildings and an empty store — were also vandalized, according to sheriff’s department officials.
“Obscene, vulgar and satanic writing and images were sprayed on the church bus and buildings,” the release from the sheriff’s department said.
According to sheriff’s department officials, a bicycle was also taken from the Evergreen area without the owner’s permission and was thrown into a water feature at a residence on Grant Lane. A mailbox in the area was also torn from its post, and an American flag was spray-painted by the alleged vandals, officials said.
On July 9, the juveniles allegedly vandalized church property within Erwin’s town limits and were involved in a burglary at the Fishery Park pool. Erwin Police Chief Regan Tilson said graffiti similar to that found on Evergreen Baptist Church had been spray- painted on Ninth Street Baptist Church and the South Erwin Church of God.
Tilson said the juveniles also broke into the Fishery Park pool, taking a small amount of cash and concessions from the stand there.
Masters said throughout the investigation, witnesses and informants were interviewed who led police to the juveniles who are now facing charges.
“Endless hours were spent by the investigators of the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department and Erwin Police Department, which working together have solved these cases and charges are pending on the juvenile individuals,” Masters said.
Masters said because the individuals to be charged are juveniles, officials will not release names.
UCSD Chief Investigator Ronnie Adkins said the suspects confessed to the vandalism and theft during interviews with police officials. Adkins said the sheriff’s department will place theft and vandalism charges against two of the juveniles, and Tilson said the Erwin Police Department will place theft and vandalism charges against all three.
Adkins said the juveniles are set to appear in Juvenile Court on Aug. 5.