PERU — A 16-year-old local boy was accused Saturday of causing an estimated $16,000 in damage to 19 headstones on July 21 in Demerritt Cemetery.
Oxford County Sheriff's Sgt. Timothy Holland said Tuesday that he charged the youth with felony criminal mischief for toppling and smashing the headstones.
The boy will be arraigned Oct. 11 in juvenile court in Rumford District Court.
“At this time, it appears that he acted alone," Holland said of his investigation. "I haven't left a stone unturned.”
The damage was discovered July 22 by a neighbor of the cemetery who checked a recent grave and spotted the vandalism. She notified Peru town officials, who contacted the Sheriff's Office.
About half of the headstones damaged were in the older section of the 6-acre cemetery bordering Route 108 and Main Street.
Many of the headstones date back to the cemetery's origins in the early 19th century and featured beautiful craftsmanship from that era, Robert Dolloff, president of the Demerritt Cemetery Association, said last month.
“Work is ongoing to repair the damage,” Holland said.
He said Collette Monuments of Lewiston has repaired a portion of the damaged stones.
The Demerritt Cemetery began in the early 1800s when Frank Demerritt donated an acre of his large Peru property for it.