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Teen seeking reward for Hibbing vandalism ends up arrested

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A teenager's attempt to claim a reward for information on the recent vandalism to about 100 gravestones at the North Hibbing Cemetery backfired when she and two others were arrested for the crime.

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Felony charges of damaging property and trespassing in a cemetery after hours are pending against the three juveniles.

"Charges will probably be filed early next week," Hibbing Police Sgt. Jeff Ronchetti said.

Police arrested the girl, 13, and one of the boys, 17, on Wednesday evening; the second boy, also 17, was arrested Thursday afternoon. The first two were released to their parents. Police haven't been able to contact the parents for the boy arrested Thursday.

"He will be housed in AJC (the Arrowhead Juvenile Center)," Ronchetti said.

The boys -- one from Hibbing and one from Palo -- have records with law enforcement; the girl, also from Hibbing, does not.

Police believe the three vandalized about 100 gravestones last weekend. A number of the gravestones were damaged beyond repair. Some were old enough to display the names of Civil War veterans. There is no cost estimate yet of the damage.

Earlier in the week Ronchetti said police didn't have much evidence to follow. But that changed when the girl came in with information.

"Because of the reward, she was trying to implicate other people and it turned around on her," Ronchetti said. "After investigating that information, the arrests were made."

The Hibbing Historical Society was going to try to raise money to increase the reward from its $100 level.

"I don't think that is going to be necessary now," Ronchetti said. "I don't believe the reward is going to be paid out, either."

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