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Duchesne County Sheriff's Office

Two men charged with vandalizing LDS church

By McKenzie Romero | Posted - Oct. 22, 2014 at 6:49 a.m.


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DUCHESNE — Two men have been charged with breaking into and vandalizing an LDS church in Duchesne.

Tristan Joseph Peterson Hirst and Denver Bell, both 19, were each charged Monday in 8th District Court with burglary and criminal mischief, a third-degree felony, and theft by deception, a class A misdemeanor.

A 17-year-old boy was also taken into custody and is suspected in the vandalism. He is being detained at the Split Mountain Youth Detention Center in Vernal and is expected to face similar charges.

The trio is suspected of causing extensive damage to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetinghouse, 181 N. 200 West, on Oct. 15. Police records indicate doors were kicked in, a filing cabinet pried open with a hammer and screwdriver, and several areas of the church were tagged with red spray paint and permanent markers.

Church medallions and pins, along with about $500 of tithing money, were taken from offices, investigators said. Some of the cash and stolen items were recovered from the three suspects' homes, as well as the homes of some of their friends and relatives.

A portrait of Jesus Christ, the door to the bishop's office and the front wall of the chapel were spray painted with a letter A in a circle, a symbol not generally found in graffiti in the area but that police had seen inside Hirst's home during a previous investigation, according to the report.

Police also found shoe prints around the building and on the doors that had been kicked in, which matched Hirst's shoes.

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McKenzie Romero

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