A weekend rampage involving three juveniles smashing mailboxes escalated into arson after a hay barn was torched, resulting in a quarter of a million dollars worth of damages.
According to the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office, three juveniles became involved in the destruction of mailboxes on the evening of Oct. 29. The three juveniles had been riding around after a party and decided to damage some mailboxes. After smashing several mailboxes that evening, they went home, authorities say.
The following day, the youths were riding around again, when one of them decided to smash some more mailboxes, according to the SCSO.
A witness in the area heard loud banging noises and when he looked down the road, he observed a truck speeding away. The witness drove to the location from where he observed the truck speed away and observed several damaged mailboxes. He then returned home and notified authorities of what he had observed and was able to offer a description of the vehicle, the SCSO reports.
Shortly thereafter, while in the vicinity, the juveniles drove past a hay barn on 192nd St., west of CR 49, when one of them decided to step up their antics by setting fire to some hay beneath the barn, reports show. After igniting the fire, the juveniles fled the scene but were soon apprehended by deputies.
As a result of the fire, about $250,000 worth of equipment, including more than one tractor, hay and structural damages were accumulated, authorities say.
According to Suwannee County Fire/Rescue Chief Charlie Conner, his crew remained on scene for a about 11 hours to combat and maintain the fire.
Sheriff’s reports reveal that two victims suffered losses from the fire: the owner of the barn and the individual who had the equipment leased and stored under the barn.
One of the juveniles faces charges of arson and criminal mischief, while another faces just arson and the third with criminal mischief.