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Boy vandals must pay church $1,000

Two 9-year-old boys accused of vandalizing a church will be enrolled in a juvenile counseling program and must pay $1,000.

The boys caused thousands of dollars in damage to the United Methodist Church after Sunday services July 7. They smashed a glass door to enter the building and smeared paint on walls and carpets, ignited fire extinguishers and knocked over furniture.

"I think it was just a couple of kids who were bored and out on a Sunday afternoon," said the Rev. Robert Bruce, pastor at the church. "One of them had a bad idea, and the other went along."

Bruce said 40 people helped clean up the church over a five-day period.

The $1,000 the youngsters will be required to pay covers the church's insurance deductible, said Jay Plotkin, director of juvenile justice for the state attorney's office.

The boys, whose names were not released, can avoid burglary and vandalism charges if they complete the counseling program, which could last a year.