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Iowa teen accused in cemetery vandalism had gravestones in his bedroom, authorities say
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Iowa teen accused in cemetery vandalism had gravestones in his bedroom, authorities say

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Some of the damage to Fredsville Evangelical Lutheran Church cemetery in rural Grundy County in July 2021.

A teen accused of taking part in vandalism that resulted in $72,635 in damages to a rural Grundy Center, Iowa, cemetery had tombstones at his home, according to court records.

Coletin James Stevenson

Coletin James Stevenson

Grundy sheriff’s deputies are investigating widespread vandalism discovered in July at the graveyard at Fredsville Evangelical Lutheran Church 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 grave markers from the graveyard.

On Sept. 1, Sheriff Kirk Dolleslager traveled to Stevenson’s home on Washington Street in Cedar Falls and talked with a relative there. The relative “then went to Coletin’s room and later returned with the tombstones,” records state. Stevenson wasn’t home at the time.

On the night of the damage, there was a large underage drinking party in the area, and witnesses told deputies that Stevenson had caused the damage, records state.

Many of the headstones were as old as 150 years, and one of the grave markers was for an infant, according to a post on the church’s Facebook page.

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

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