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Teens arrested in vandalism of decorations

Authorities arrested two Lecanto High School students and two from the Renaissance Center and charged them each with criminal mischief Friday, in connection with vandalism to Christmas displays at the Beverly Hills Recreation Association building.

The vandalism to the Christmas decorations _ estimated at more than $1,500 _ was reported to officials on Jan. 2, authorities said.

Several of the reindeer ornaments had their heads kicked off, then thrown into a retention pond, arrest reports said.

The teens tried to tear a large wreath from a wall, and numerous lighted deorations were ripped off fences and destroyed, authorities reported.

An investigation led Citrus County sheriff's authorities to arrest the students from Lecanto High School _ a 15-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl, both from Beverly Hills _ and the Renaissance Center _ a 14-year-old boy from Dunnellon and a 15-year-old boy from Beverly Hills.

The two 14-year-olds eventually were released to the custody of their parents, the reports said.

The 15-year-olds were to be placed on home detention and have contact with the Department of Juvenile Justice.

A fifth person, currently in custody on an unrelated charge, has been identified in connection with the vandalism, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney. He also is expected to be charged with criminal mischief, authorities said.

The three boys arrested admitted to a sheriff's detective that they vandalized the Christmas decorations at the Beverly Hills recreation center while on vacation from school, according to the reports.

The girl, however, denied destroying the decorations, and told the detective it was more fun to watch.

_ Suzannah Gonzales can be reached at 860-7312 or sgonzalessptimes.com.

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