POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — Three children caused roughly $80,000 in damage by vandalizing an Idaho home before trying to burn it down, police said.
The Pocatello home had heavy damage from urine and paint. Dishes, lamps and appliances were broken and furniture was destroyed. Police say there was also evidence the children had tried to clean up some of the mess.
The Idaho State Journal reported the children — 9, 12 and 13 — have been charged in juvenile court with second-degree arson and malicious destruction of property. Juvenile court cases are sealed under Idaho state law.
Police said Lorraine Bowen was on vacation in Utah when the home was broken into.
Bowen declined to comment, citing advice from her attorney. Her twin sister, Denise Murdock, said two of the children live in the neighborhood. She said her sister had paid the children to shovel snow from her driveway and had bought them Christmas presents.
“I’m upset about this whole thing,” Murdock said. “My sister has worked hard all her life to have nice things.”
A police report says investigators believe the children entered the home at least 10 times on two days in April. One of the children got worried that the vandalism had gotten out of hand, and it was his idea to burn down the home to hide the evidence, police said.
Investigators found a hole in a bedroom mattress where a fire was started, but it appeared to have gone out from lack of oxygen. There were ashes in the garage, where a second fire was started but didn’t spread, authorities said.
Police say at least two of the children confessed at the encouragement of their parents.