Jul 2, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterInvestigators say the suspects stayed in each house for several hours "partying and basically ransacking and destroying everything they could get their hands on."
Two Lander men have been arrested in connection with damage reported May 7 to two privately owned cabins in Sinks Canyon.
Michael Vinich, 20, and Shaun Zgurich, 19, were charged June 30 with misdemeanor criminal entry, felony burglary and two felony charges each of conspiracy to commit property destruction and defacement.
They were arrested Tuesday afternoon by the Lander Police Department.
Officials said the men were part of a group of people including James Webb, born 1993; Maxine Lawson, born 1995; and two Lander sisters born 1996 and 1998, who broke into to the Sinks Canyon cabins in early May.
The homes belong to Donald Garvin and T.M. McKee, according to reports. The charges against the Lander men state Garvin's property was damaged May 1, while McKee's was damaged May 5. Garvin and McKee both indicated that no one in the group in question had permission to be in either dwelling at any time.
In a Wednesday press release, Undersheriff Ryan Lee said it appeared the suspects had stayed in each home for several hours "partying and basically ransacking and destroying everything they could get their hands on.
"We found shattered windows, holes in the walls, discharged fire extinguishers, broken dishes --the interior of the homes and their contents were extensively destroyed," Lee wrote.
Fremont County Sheriff's Det. Jason Cox described the damage in an affidavit dated June 30.
At McKee's house, he said several windows had been broken, and the front door knob had been disassembled. Furniture was damaged, Cox said, and fire extinguisher residue was found throughout the residence.
"The furniture in the living room area was strewn all around, and there were cups, cards and burnt papers strewn about the area as well," he wrote in his affidavit. "The two-piece window in the living room area (was) broken, and most of the glass (was) lying on the inside of the living room. It appeared (the window) was broken by rocks which were lying on the floor inside the window."
He said another rock was "embedded in the wall" under a stairwell. A book had been burned, Cox continued, and the pages were scattered throughout the living room.
"There were multiple matches on the floor in the area as well," Cox wrote. "The carpet in the dwelling was also damaged by fire."
McKee said several beds had been moved, and two others had been slept in. Cox observed damage to pictures hanging in the stairwell, and he saw "substantial destruction" on the second floor of the cabin.
McKee said the residence was in a "clean, neat and organized state" when she last saw it on April 18.
At the Garvin property, FCSO Sgt. John Zerga said several windows had been broken out and furniture had been damaged, including "numerous irreplaceable antiques."
It also appeared that the beds in the residence had been used, according to Cox's affidavit, and the carpet in the Garvin dwelling had been damaged by fire.
"Total damages are still being processed," Lee said. "I can tell you it is several thousand dollars; one home lost $7,000 just in flooring."
While assessing the damage to the Garvin property, FCSO Det. Eric Granlund reported finding a receipt from the Wind River Casino that had been issued to Zgurich.
In a statement, Zgurich said he had gone to the Garvin home May 1 with Webb, Vinich, Lawson, and the two sisters.
Zgurich entered the home through an unlocked window before opening the front door to let the others inside. He said Webb told him which window was unlocked.
Once they were in the house, Zgurich said everyone in the group "actively participated" in the property destruction.
While conducting further investigation through social media, Cox said he found a video Vinich had posted titled "Badass video of yesterday in sinks with Ron and James Webb."
Webb was identified in the video along with "Ron," whose last name is unknown.
In addition the two sisters told a truancy officer at Lander Valley High School that they had "gotten into trouble" during the weekend in question. Reportedly they said they had been in Sinks Canyon with some "friends from Riverton" and had not returned home until the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 6.
In an interview, one said Lawson had picked her up on May 1 and May 5 and gone with her to the Sinks Canyon dwellings.
The charges of conspiracy to commit property destruction and defacement allege that Vinich and Zgurich agreed with one or more people that they, or one or more of them, would commit a crime involving defacing, injuring of destroying someone else's property.
The felonies are punishable by imprisonment of not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.
Burglary is a felony punishable by imprisonment of not more than 10 years, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both. That charge alleges the men entered a building without permission, intending to commit larceny or some other felony.
Finally, the misdemeanor criminal entry charge states Vinich and Zgurich knowingly entered the homes. The count is punishable by imprisonment of not more than six months, a fine of not more than $750, or both.
The men had their initial appearance in Lander Circuit Court at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Their preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. July 16.
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