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Boys Arrested in Vandalism at Graveyard

September 27, 1986|RAY PEREZ | Times Staff Writer

Police have arrested six teen-age punk rockers on suspicion of damaging or destroying 65 tombstones--some more than a century old--two weeks ago at Santa Ana's oldest cemetery, a police spokesman said Friday.

Santa Ana Police Lt. Robert Chavez said the six boys, all 15 to 17 years old, were arrested at their high schools Thursday. They were booked on suspicion of trespassing and vandalism and were released to the custody of their parents.

Chavez said the case has been referred to the Orange County district attorney's office, which is expected to decide next week whether to file charges.

Teen-Ager Questioned

The police spokesman said the arrests came after a detective talked to a caretaker, who was not identified, and a teen-ager who regularly rides his bicycle on the county-owned Santa Ana Cemetery.

"The questioning of that juvenile was the key to the investigation. It mushroomed from there," Chavez said.

According to witnesses, Chavez said, the teen-agers frequently "hung out" at the cemetery.

On the night of Sept. 14, he said, "These juveniles were drinking and just got a little overzealous."

Some of the tombstones that were toppled date to the 1860s when Santa Ana was a pioneer village. Twenty of the tombstones, some of which were tall and elaborate marble markers, were destroyed, he said.

The youths were arrested at Foothill and Hillview high schools, both in Santa Ana, and at Tustin High School.

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