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Man accused in Waynesboro cemetery vandalism waives prelim

August 21, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A man charged with causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to monuments and tombstones in a Waynesboro, Pa., cemetery waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday in Franklin County Central Court.

Paul W. Umstead Jr., 20, of no fixed address, is charged with institutional vandalism and two counts of intimidation of witnesses. He was scheduled for mandatory arraignment in five weeks.

The vandalism to the Burns Hill Cemetery was discovered on the morning of July 16, with caretakers telling Waynesboro police that the damage was "in excess of $500,000," according to the affidavit of probable cause. Gravestones and monuments dating from the early to mid-19th century were toppled and damaged, including an Italian marble angel, whose head was knocked off.

On July 17, an informant told police about hearing two women discussing the vandalism, mentioning the names "Shadow" and "Big T." Police confronted the women, one of whom said Umstead, who was referred to as "Shadow," came to her home that morning, along with two men who went by the nicknames "Big T" and "Haddley."

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The three told the women about wrecking the graveyard. Umstead told one woman he "would get his people to take care of her" if she talked to police, telling the other he could "make her disappear."

Umstead was taken into custody by Washington Township police during an Aug. 8 traffic stop. Umstead denied being involved in the vandalism, police said.

The charges against Umstead are third-degree felonies carrying a maximum of seven years in prison on each count.

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