Deputy: Vandals identified

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Snapchat video helped identify the teenagers who vandalized the Ebenezer polling place in May.

“There were two juveniles involved in it,” said Lt. Sam Mallory of the Pike County Sheriff’s Department.

Both boys, age 17, are from Troy. They have been identified but have not been charged yet, Mallory said. “We’re working with the Pike County Commission to determine the cost of repairs first.”

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Mallory said the vandalism took place on May 14 but was not discovered until June 1, when county crews found broken windows and a dented building at the polling place on Highway 223 in Ebeneezer.

County Administrator Harry Sanders described the county-owned building as “messed up pretty bad.”

Mallory said an article published in the June 3 edition of The Messenger led to a community tip, which led back to the suspects.

“There were a group of kids out there that afternoon, riding four-wheelers on the trail behind the buildings,” Mallory said. “Someone else on the scene did a Snapchat video as they were leaving and in the background you could see these two boys throwing rocks.”

Snapchat is a social media application that allows users to broadcast pictures and videos to large groups of contacts and friends. The pictures and videos only remain visible for 24 hours, but Mallory said someone who had seen the original Snapchat video called to identify the suspects after reading the newspaper article.

Mallory said investigators were able to identify the two juveniles, one of whom has confessed to the vandalism.

“They were out there having fun and decided they wanted to throw some rocks, so they threw them at the building,” Mallory said. “These were nice-sized railroad rocks, so they caused quite a bit of damage.”

Mallory said investigators have interviewed one of the suspects and have contacted the parents of the second juvenile, who is out of town. “He’s supposed to be back this weekend and he’ll be coming in to talk with us,” Mallory said. “We’ve talked to his father about it.”

The incident remains under investigation, Mallory said.