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Suspect arrested for vandalism at Manitou Springs cemetery says he was “showing off”

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- After more than 50 monuments and gravesites were vandalized at a Manitou Springs cemetery, police say they've arrested a suspect.

According to an update from the Manitou Springs Police Department, Landon Wayne Johnston was arrested in early July, but the arrest wasn't announced until Thursday.

Johnston is accused of toppling and damaging the gravesites at Crystal Valley Cemetery on May 26. We first reported the vandalism and subsequent search for a suspect.

The total cost of the vandalism is nearly $6,000.

Manitou Springs Police received a tip about Johnston's Snapchat, where he posted a photo with a gravestone. Police questioned Johnston about the photo, although he claimed that it was a "Halloween prop."

Once police were able to identify that the gravestone was the one missing from the Crystal Valley Cemetery, they arrested 23-year-old Johnston. He later admitted to the crime and said three others were involved: Zarrick, Miranda, and Brittany.

Johnston said that he damaged and destroyed the items in the cemetery, trying to "show off." He, along with the three others, started a small fire on the backside of the cemetery, fueled by Sailor Jerry's rum. He added that the fire got so big, that he had to urinate on it to extinguish it.

Johnston also admits to throwing the missing headstone out at Bott Cemetery in Colorado Springs on 26th Street.

“We are delighted to be able to make an arrest regarding the cemetery vandalism case," said MSPD interim chief Bill Otto. "The Crystal Valley Cemetery is a historic point of interest in our community, and it pains us to see the damage done to the sacred property.”

Johnston faces charges of felony criminal mischief, defacing property, and second-degree criminal tampering. He's not currently listed in the El Paso County Jail. Although, he has an arraignment scheduled for September 9th.

MSPD said the investigation is still ongoing but no other suspects have been identified. Police said if anyone has information about other people being involved in the vandalism, they should call 719-685-5407.

Andrew McMillan

Andrew is the Digital Content Director for KRDO.com. Learn more about Andrew here.

Comments

17 Comments

  1. I am glad they caught this person.
    This type of malicious activity might indicate he was on the way to bigger badder acts.

    1. “the fire got so big, that he had to urinate on it to extinguish it.”

      On his way to bigger bladder acts?

  2. This was likely a act of anti-christian bigotry. He looks like the type to be motivated by that kind of hatred towards Christians.

    1. They attack Christians, patriotic Americans, White people, and basically everything good. They want to cancel all of it.

    2. Most cemeteries aren’t restricted to Christians, but they are occupied only by dead people. Perhaps he was trying to show off to them . . . ?

    3. And what group completely hates Christians? And what group is trying to cancel everything they hate?

  3. He probably was mad because he didn’t make enough money standing on the corner to buy weed or buy some bigger gages for his ears.

    1. ohh those giant ear holes.
      You can’t wear gauges in jail, and those long stringy earlobes just turn into “handles”

  4. Looks like A LOT more damage than only $6,000.! He needs a psychological evaluation; this isn’t stable behavior.

  5. To me, the scary part is that he is 23! This is such a teenager thing to do. I truly pity this generation for not at least trying to become responsible adults by this age!

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