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Teens charged with damaging L-P field ordered held until Oct. 27

An aerial view of Howard Fellows Stadium taken weeks ago shows the newly installed artificial field turf near completion.
An aerial view of Howard Fellows Stadium taken weeks ago shows the newly installed artificial field turf near completion.

Two teens accused of damaging the turf at La Salle-Peru High School’s football field were ordered held in the La Salle County Detention Home until their next hearing Tuesday, Oct. 27.

The 16-year-olds, one from La Salle and one from Peru, appeared for separate detention hearings before La Salle County Judge Michael C. Jansz, who told the youths they’ll remain in custody until further proceedings. Assistant La Salle County state’s attorney Victoria Denny and assistant public defender Jim Reilly had stipulated to the immediate need to keep them in the Detention Home.

Jansz also instructed the youths to behave themselves while in lockup, as their in-custody conduct could affect any disposition in their cases.

“Yes, your honor,” each responded politely during their respective hearings.

The youths were charged with felony criminal damage to state-supported property and unlawful use of weapons for the Sept. 26 incident at L-P’s Howard Fellows Football Stadium. An adult would face 2-5 years in prison for the same charges; but juveniles are subject to a much broader array of sentencing options.

As previously reported, police were alerted to a pair of Sept. 26 incidents in or around Howard Fellows Stadium. At 5:33 a.m., officers responded to a report that someone had entered the locked stadium and lit a Molotov cocktail, causing damage to a small section of recently installed field turf.

Hours later, at 7:54 p.m., Peru police responded to the parking lot adjacent to the stadium, where officers found a similar destructive device discarded in the parking lot; but in this incident there was no damage.

Peru police developed the suspects after a broad appeal for information from the public and after public pledges of a cash reward that reached $2,700. Police described the damage as “limited to a small section” of turf, which cost more than $900,000. Prosecutors said an assessment of the monetary value of the damage is pending.

One of the youths has been in trouble before. Prosecutors disclosed that besides the two felony counts they also have filed a petition to revoke the probation of one of the youths. The boy’s original charge was not disclosed in open court and juvenile records are not open to the public.

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