Iowa teenager accused of cemetery vandalism had headstones in his room, authorities say | national news


A teenager accused of participating in acts of vandalism that caused $72,635 in damage to a rural cemetery in Grundy Center, Iowa, had headstones at his home, court records show.

Grundy sheriff’s deputies are investigating widespread vandalism discovered in July at the Fredsville Evangelical Lutheran Church cemetery on 150th Street.

On Monday, authorities announced they had arrested 18-year-old Coletin James Stevenson of Cedar Falls on charges of first-degree criminal mischief.

According to court records, Stevenson had become a suspect in the damage, and investigators found a photo of him in the cemetery. They suspected he had taken headstones from the cemetery.

On September 1, Sheriff Kirk Dolleslager visited Stevenson’s home on Washington Street in Cedar Falls and spoke with a relative there. The relative “then went to Coletin’s room and later returned with the headstones,” the records say. Stevenson was not home at the time.

On the night of the damage, there was a large miners’ party in the area and witnesses told deputies that Stevenson caused the damage, records show.

Most of the headstones were up to 150 years old, and one of the headstones was that of a baby, according to a post on the church’s Facebook page.

This crime is still under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office at (319) 824-6933.


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