Bashaw RCMP officers have made an arrest after a rash of church vandalism in central Alberta.
Since January, Ponoka, Bashaw and Wetaskiwin RCMP detachments have investigated several reports of vandalism occurring at area churches.
The vandalism ranged from rocks being thrown through windows to suspects forcing entry and doing significant amounts of damage inside.
Things escalated when Bashaw RCMP officers received a report on Feb. 13 that St. Michaels Hungarian Church had burnt down the previous evening.
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With the spike in vandalism, the three detachments coordinated efforts to catch those responsible.
A community meeting was held in response to the incidents where photos of the two suspects was believed to be involved were circulated.
On Feb. 14, two suspects turned themselves in to Bashaw RCMP, admitting their involvement in all incidents.
An 18-year-old from Ponoka County and a young offender who cannot be named were both charged with arson, 13 counts of mischief and 10 counts of break and enter.
The 18-year-old and the young offender were both released pending court dates in April. Both individuals will appear in Stettler Provincial Court; the young offender on April 11, and the 18-year-old on April 13.
“At this time there is no evidence to suggest that these crimes were politically or ideologically motivated,” said Cpl. Troy Savinkoff, RCMP media relations officer, in a prepared statement.