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Three Youth Cited For McCabe Church Break-Ins

Roosevelt County Undersheriff John Summers told the Community News that citations were issued May 28 to three area minors for their parts in an April 9 break-in at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Mc-Cabe. Local resident Karen Larsen Synan said the incident resulted in considerable damage to the church.

According to Summers, RCSO deputy Ryan VanKerkhove visited two youth at a Homestead address on the evening of May 28, citing them each for desecration of capital or place of worship and criminal trespass to property. VanKerkhove issued the same citations to another youth at a nearby Homestead address later the same evening.

Austin Oelkers and Alisha Maiolo came across three individuals in front of the church on the evening of April 9. The couple lived near the church at the time. Oelkers said the individuals fled the scene in a dark, late model pickup with white stickers in the window after he initiated his turn signal near the church. He said he stepped inside the church after the individuals left. He noticed damage to the altar, baptismal fountain and sheet rock throughout the building. Oelkers said he immediately left the church and went to locate a firearm for protection. Maiolo called the Sheriff’s Office at approximately 10 p.m. to report the break-in. Deputy Damon Sadler responded.

Another call was received by RSCO on April 10 to report the appearance of several individuals who seemed to be cleaning up debris at the church. According to Synan, who made the call, Culbertson residents Mark and Jo Nelson noticed the individuals and stopped to ask them what they were doing on the property. VanKerkhove responded.

Along with damage to the altar and fountain, several Bibles, registers and other religious items were strewn throughout the church. Numerous holes were smashed in the walls and at least one closet. On previous occasions, sacramental wine, foodstuffs and even some toilet paper has been stolen from the property. It is not known if the individuals cited were involved in previous break-ins.

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