Four teenagers have been arrested in connection with extensive vandalism that took place June 29 at St. Pius Tenth Church, 3000 Chili Ave., Chili.
According to Cpl. John Helfer of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, vandals urinated into holy water; broke into the sacristy; ripped open several rolls of Communion wafers and threw them about; damaged the baptismal font, door frames, a chalice and a painting; discharged fire extinguishers; burned the carpet with cigarettes; made skid marks on the carpet with bicycles; and smashed bottles of Communion wine against a wall.
In connection with the incident, the sheriff’s office said it had arrested four Chili teenagers: Dan Seklar, 18; Richard DeCarolis, 17; Michael Street, 16; and a 15-year-old juvenile who was not named. The three older teens were charged with third-degree burglary as well as second-degree criminal mischief, both felonies.
The sheriff’s office said the case of the 15-year-old, who was issued a juvenile appearance ticket, will be handled by Monroe County Family Court.
According to the sheriff’s office, deputies responded to a burglary in process at St. Pius at 7:20 p.m. on June 29. Then, while processing the crime scene at about 10 p.m., sheriff’s technician Deputy Dan Luffman noticed two individuals walking across the church parking lot. Luffman spoke with one of the individuals, whom the sheriff’s office identified as Seklar. The sheriff’s office said that the pattern of Seklar’s sneaker tread allegedly matched footprints at the crime scene.
Helfer said Seklar admitted involvement in the incident, was arrested, arraigned on the morning of June 30 and, as of July 8, was being held in Monroe County Jail. DeCarolis and Street were charged and arraigned in Riga Town Court on July 2 and released to their parents, according to the sheriff’s office.
Susan Vandervoort, St. Pius’ business manager, said the parish originally estimated the cost of damage at $17,000, but added that the final figure could be higher or lower than that figure.
She said the parish did not change its service schedule as a result of the incident, but said parishioners were saddened by the vandalism.
“Parishioners were upset,” she added. “They were hurt … but most of all concerned for the future” of the vandals, for whom she said parishioners are praying.