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Man charged in vandalism of Burns Hill Cemetery

August 15, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Waynesboro police have charged a 20-year-old man with institutional vandalism connected to half a million dollars worth of damage caused at Burns Hill Cemetery in mid-July.

Police said they received an anonymous tip concerning Paul W. Umstead Jr.'s participation, then questioned him after a stopping a vehicle in which he was a passenger on Aug. 8. Police stopped the vehicle in the 700 block of East Second Street at 5:14 p.m.

Umstead, who has no fixed address, could face up to seven years in prison on the third-degree felony charge of institutional vandalism. He also has been charged with two counts of witness intimidation.

Umstead was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge T.R. Williams in Scotland, Pa., and placed in Franklin County Jail. He remained in jail on Thursday in lieu of $50,000 bail.

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A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 19.

In the first few weeks after the overnight destruction July 15 or 16, police said they had no substantial leads about who toppled and shattered gravestones throughout the cemetery. Estimates were that 100 gravestones had been damaged in the 127-year-old cemetery on a hilltop across from McDonalds on Pa. 16.

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