ELK RIDGE, Utah County — Three teenage boys were arrested after an LDS Church meetinghouse was vandalized Sunday night, police said.
Two brothers, ages 13 and 14, and another 14-year-old boy were booked into the Slate Canyon Youth Detention Center on Monday for allegedly causing more than $20,000 in damage to the church at 259 E. Alpine Drive.
Investigators believe the boys, all from Payson, spent several hours in the building after 9 p.m. Sunday. They sprayed three fire extinguishers until they were empty, started small fires in two garbage cans using hymn books and threw other hymn books through ceiling tiles, said Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon.
"One of the boys even slept for a period of time in the chapel near the piano," Cannon said in a statement.
The boys also allegedly stole small items from the building, including food, and a resident near the church reported he saw several teenage boys dump garbage in his yard. A woman who went to the building around 10 a.m. Monday to practice the organ saw the damage and called police.
The boys are being investigated for felony burglary and criminal mischief, as well as reckless burning and theft, both misdemeanors, Cannon said. One of the 14-year-old boys, who allegedly lied to police about his name, is being investigated for giving false information to a police officer.
That boy was initially uncooperative, but all three teens eventually confessed to the incident, according to the sergeant.
"Evidence at the scene clearly connected these boys to the damage done to the building. One of the boys had singed hair still stuck to his forehead, apparently from the fires lit in the garbage cans," Cannon said. "The boys also had powder from the fire extinguishers on their clothing and on their bodies."
Fire extinguisher residue was found throughout the meetinghouse, with the exception of the chapel, he added.
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