Exclusive: Teens Confess to Peaselburg Vandalism
Three teens appeared at the Friends of Peaselburg Neighborhood Association meeting on Monday night promising to help pay for the damage caused to several of the Covington neighborhood's decorative flower planters over Mother's Day weekend.
Two admitted guilt while a third also promised to help repay the cost of the damage and to help in the replacement of the planters but denied ever touching them.
The teens showed up at the meeting each with a parent and stood up to face the neighborhood association's members who expressed gratitude for the confessions and the proposed restitution in lieu of pressing felony charges against the boys.
One of the boys' fathers came home from work late that Saturday night and spotted a couple of the planters turned over and actually stopped to put them back up. Over the following days he would later learn that his own son was involved in the vandalism. "I was devastated to the point that I couldn't eat or sleep the next day," said the father, who has lived on Jefferson Avenue for eighteen years. "These are good boys. They made a snap judgment. I'm hoping you'll give these guys a chance to make things right."
Five planters were broken and two others were vandalized causing $600 in total damages (SEE: Peaselburg Planters Vandalized).
Members of the neighborhood association told The River City News that day that a neighbor witnessed three teens in the act of vandalizing the planters. Member Sue Barnett was able to make contact with parents of two of the boys and explained that the neighborhood association could press charges. "This is a felony," she told them," and if we take you to court, which we still have the option to do, that would be on your record and you don't want that and we don't want that either."
The boys expressed their remorse. "I apologize for tipping them over and I will help (replace the planters)," one teen said.
"We weren't thinking when we tipped them over," said another.
"I will help, too, but I didn't touch those planters," a third said.
The neighborhood association would meet later Monday evening in a members-only session to discuss a timeline for the restitution to be paid. The father from Jefferson Avenue said that for his son's part the money would come directly from the boy's savings account and not from his parents. "He'll be paying for this himself in addition ti putting in some time to help," the father said.
Barnett said that she has raised more than $300 from concerned neighbors hoping to help with the replacement of the broken planters. Peaselburg has roughly sixty planters throughout its boundaries.
Other neighbors were appreciative of the boys' confessions and their willingness to make right their wrong. "Guys, y'all mess up but the point is you learned something from it," one neighbor said. "The important thing is you learn something from it and put it behind you."
"Once is enough," another neighbor said. "The next time will be different."
Association chairman Larry Weller said that they will begin planting flowers this weekend.
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News
Photo: Vandalized planter in Peaselburg/provided