Rash of vandalism incidents results in multiple charges for Merrill man
An 18-year old Merrill man has been released from custody on $12,000 signature bond, facing numerous charges related to a rash of vandalism incidents across Lincoln County, dating as far back as January.
18-year old Matthew D. Peterson of Merrill made an initial appearance in Lincoln County Circuit Court on Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 29, facing 14 counts of misdemeanor Criminal Damage to Property and 10 counts of misdemeanor bail jumping. In addition to being released on $12,000 signature bond, Peterson was also ordered to follow a daily curfew of 9 p.m.-7 a.m. Peterson is due back in court on Wednesday, Nov. 18 for a status conference.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office announced Peterson had been taken into custody as part of a release on the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 28. “An 18-year old Merrill man has been arrested, and three others will be summoned on criminal charges resulting from a month’s long investigation into multiple cases of criminal damage to property in and around the City of Merrill.
According to a press release from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office on the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 28, The incidents began in January when several young adults targeted both private and public property by spray painting symbols and vulgarities.”
In total, 17 separate cases were investigated.
The damage began in the Town of Pine River and continued to Council Grounds State Park, occurring on multiple occasions.
The charges being sought do include some damage that was done to the area in Merrill known as the River Bend Trail. Additional damage on the trail which includes broken lights is still considered an open case and Merrill officers are seeking any additional leads.
An investigator with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the case in September and soon developed leads as to the suspects. The sheriff’s office investigator conducted interviews, viewed surveillance cameras and obtained confessions which led to numerous criminal charges which will be filed with the Lincoln County District Attorney.
Investigators with the Merrill Police Department developed early leads in the incidents and assisted as the interviews with the suspects and witnesses were conducted.
On Monday, September 28, the 18-year old main suspect came to the Sheriff’s Office where he was arrested on 12 counts of criminal damage to property. I
Other suspects include:
• 19 year old Merrill man being summoned on five counts of criminal damage to property
• 18 year old Merrill woman being summoned on three counts of criminal damage to property
• 20 year old Merrill woman being summoned on three counts of criminal damage to property
The lead deputy in this case expects these numbers may increase as all cases are consolidated between the agencies.
These cases drew widespread attention due to the good deeds of some residents who used their time and effort to clean up the mess created by these adults. Law enforcement officers are grateful for their work, and the assistance from the community in solving these crimes.
The identities of the other individuals mentioned in the press release, have yet to be released.