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1 caught, 1 sought in vandalism incidents

MORRIS – The alleged culprits behind numerous vandalism incidents in town, including to public officials’ vehicles, have been indicted, but one still has yet to be found.

Dustin R. Ralls, 20, of Morris and Zhenia A. Buttry 23, of Morris were indicted Wednesday by the Grundy County Grand Jury on charges of criminal defacement of property, Class 4 felonies.

Ralls was arrested at his home Thursday by the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department on a two-count warrant stemming from the indictments. He posted bond and was released pending court, according to news release from Morris police.

Buttry has not been apprehended. She has a previous conviction in Kendall County for criminal defacement of property.

“Any incident that involves someone’s property being damaged is pretty disturbing. What makes this more disturbing in this case is the police, fire department and school were targeted. These weren’t just random acts. They were most likely premeditated and targeting specific vehicles and possibly specific members of these departments,” Chief Brent Dite said Thursday.               

The indictment are a result of investigations conducted by Morris police into similar damage reports. 

In October 2013, several vehicles, including vehicles belonging to the police department and the Morris Fire Protection & Ambulance District, were damaged with black spray paint. Also were the Morris Community High School, signage owned by the city of Morris and the Meagan’s Story display vehicle owned by the Grundy County Coroner’s Office.

Coroner John Callahan has been telling the story for two years of Meagan Ahlstrom, who was killed by a drunken driver in Morris in 2009. He displays the car she died in when a drunken driver crashed into her while driving near the Grundy County Fairgrounds. The vandals spray-painted the signage and the picture of Meagan’s face.

In May, many of the same city and fire protection district vehicles, along with the restrooms, bridge supports and signage in Stratton Park, were again damaged with black spray paint.

“I’m very happy this is being brought to a conclusion,” said Callahan. “I am going to be in touch with Meagan’s mom next. I’m sure she’ll be relieved that they did catch the kids and [it was] not directed toward the family.”

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