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January 28, 2014

Teens face felony arson charges

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — Three Oneonta youths face felony arson and other charges in connection with the burning of a dugout at Doc Knapp Field in Oneonta’s Sixth Ward, police said.

Three males, two aged 14 and one 13, have been issued summonses, or tickets, to appear in Otsego County Family Court on charges of third-degree arson, a felony, and sixth-degree conspiracy and making graffiti, misdemeanors, Lt. Douglas Brenner said Monday.

One youth was served with a ticket Friday, he said, and the two other youths were issued tickets Sunday. By law, police cannot reveal the youths’ names because they are younger than 16, Brenner said.

Brenner didn’t know the court appearance date, which is arranged through the county Probation Department. A disposition through family court might include penalty options such as probation, community service or juvenile detention, he said.

The youths are accused of burning the third-base dugout at Doc Knapp Field, also known as the Little League Field, on Jan. 18, causing more than $10,000 in damages. The nearby Swart-Wilcox House, an historic museum site, and the Riverside Elementary School were vandalized by graffiti.

Brenner said the conspiracy charge was lodged because at least two of the youths talked about “causing problems.” The dugout was a “target of opportunity” in an incident of “youthful exuberance” rather than a retaliatory act, he said. 

The summonses were issued as a result of an investigation that included tips from the public, examinations of evidence, interviews, and cooperation from the parents of the suspects, a media release from the Oneonta Police Department said. The police case is closed.