Cost of Mt. Carmel vandalism increases while suspect goes before judge

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Mt. Carmel plans to replace the statues and then rededicate them

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mt. Carmel plans to replace all the statues at the church that were broken by a vandal Friday, but the cost is expected to be much higher than originally estimated.

Caleb Vancampen, who is accused of causing all the damage, gave no plea Monday at his arraignment and told a judge he had no job, no lawyer, and no home.

He said that he had been evicted from his home in East Palestine. Prosecutors said he had no prior convictions, but he had two theft charges pending.

Bond was set at $10,000, and Vancampen was ordered to not have any contact with the church.

Most of the damage has been removed from Mt. Carmel, but a broken statue and empty pedestals wait to be fixed.

“The monetary value is very high, but there’s also significant personal and religious value to many of these monuments,” said Youngstown Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey Moliterno,

Monsignor Michael Cariglio said the damage could be four to five times higher than what we heard Friday. The cost is now approaching $80,000 to $100,000 to fix.

“It adds up, especially when he approached 16 of them for demolition,” Monsignor Cariglio said.

The list of damaged statues and other items includes:

  • Statue of Mother Cabrini
  • Statue of St. Francis of Assisi
  • Statue of Our Lady of Fatima plus three children and animals around it
  • Statue of Pope St. John Paul II
  • Statue of Our Lady of Lourdes
  • Statue of Mary, Jesus and Joseph together
  • 3 lighting fixture
  • 14 fiberglass statues, some from Italy
  • 2 granite statues were damaged

Untouched was a statue of the Holy Father outside Mt. Carmel.

“I’ve been a priest here 34 years. We’ve never had one iota of vandalism. Not one, and all of a sudden, this,” Monsignor Cariglio said.

There was a person in church praying when the destruction happened, and a security camera was recording. The suspect stayed away from the basilica and rectory.

Police say Vancampen confessed when they questioned him.

Monsignor Cariglio said parishioners Sunday expressed sadness with the events. He also offered to help, if possible.

“I don’t know if I’m capable of helping him since I’m a priest. He may need something more by way of some psychological help or something, and I’m not a psychologist. But we would be there in support to put him back on the proper path of life,” Monsignor Cariglio said.

Mt. Carmel plans to replace the statues and then rededicate them.

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