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Vandalism arrest

Southbridge man arraigned in Oak Ridge case

Mitchell Spenard, center top, is flanked in court by Officer Kenneth Melendez and defense attorney Stephanie LoRusso. Spenard was charged in connection with last month’s vandalism at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
August 08, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — As police are ramping up an investigation into another cemetery vandalism, they arrested a local man Thursday for the destruction of 71 stones at Oak Ridge Cemetery last month.

Mitchell Spenard, 22, was picked up on a warrant at his job in Devens that morning and arraigned the same afternoon on charges of malicious destruction over $250, doing more than $5,000 damage to a church or synagogue (which covers cemeteries) and trespassing.

Judge Paul Losapio ordered him held on $100,000 bail or $1 million surety and revoked the $40 he'd already paid as bail in an unrelated larceny case July 23. The high bail came as a result of the police report, which found that it would cost at least that much to repair the damage.

If Spenard is convicted, he could be fined up to three times the total repair cost on each of the destruction and church damage charges on top of a combined 7.5 years in prison. He did not enter a plea, but did ask for a court-appoint lawyer, and is slated to return to court Sept. 2.

The police report by Detective Robert Salisbury states that he visited Oak Ridge around 5 p.m. July 28 to try tracking the then-unknown suspect with a dog. The dog, he wrote, followed a scent "from one of the gravestones that had been knocked over" through the cemetery, down Main Street, up Mechanic and up Snow before losing it at Moon Street. Over the next few days, he stated, "numerous informants" gave him various details, with several claiming they thought "Mitch" was involved. After he recalled prior dealings with Spenard, he left word for him at a Hamilton Street address.

Spenard came to the station a few hours later, and agreed to speak, Salibury wrote. He "was visibly shaking and his voice was cracking" as he initially denied any involvement, but later allegedly confessed to the acts.

For more on this story. please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

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