Saratoga County

Mechanicville police arrest 5 children — one as young as 9 — in cemetery vandalism case

City police have arrested five children who they say vandalized an historic cemetery March 30.

City police have arrested five children who they say vandalized an historic cemetery March 30.

The children range in age from 9 to 13 years old; four are from Mechanicville and one is from Stillwater.

Mayor Anthony Sylvester said he was surprised to hear the ages of the alleged vandals.

“I was just dumbfounded,” he said. “You kind of expect them to be older kids. They’re just lucky one of those stones didn’t fall over on them.”

The suspects will be charged as juveniles and their cases will go before Family Court. Police won’t release specific details of what happened, but said all five children participated in the vandalism.

Once they were questioned, the children cooperated with police, as did the parents, who were upset at what their children allegedly did, police said.

Police said in a statement that the children’s parents “would like to express deep sorrow to all those impacted by this action.”

Since police publicized the vandalism, residents, businesses and organizations have offered their time or money to repair the damaged headstones, some of which date from the mid-1800s.

Caretaker Stephen Doty has replaced some of the larger stones that were knocked off their bases, said Jim Doty, the recently retired caretaker and father of Stephen Doty.

Volunteers will likely have special work days at the cemetery before the spring cleanup day usually slated for May, Jim Doty said.

Sylvester said he hopes the court requires the children to perform community service at the cemetery.

“At least I would want them up there most of the summer,” he said, adding that if there’s not enough to do at the cemetery, there’s always work elsewhere in the city.

“We would certainly have things for them to do.”

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