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Officials net fourth suspect in canyon cabin vandalism case

Jul 15, 2014 - From staff reports

A fourth person is in custody related to a cabin vandalism case in Sinks Canyon.

Maxine Lawson, 19, of Riverton, was arrested on Fremont County warrants for criminal entry, burglary and two counts of conspiracy to commit property destruction at about 10:45 p.m. Sunday at the Fremont County Sheriff's Office in Lander. She reportedly turned herself in.

She joins fellow defendants James Robert Webb, 20, Michael Vinich, 20, and Shaun Zgurich, 19, who were arrested earlier this month. A preliminary hearing for all four suspects is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. Their bond is set at $10,000 cash or security, and they all face the same charges.

Charges

The charges of conspiracy to commit property destruction allege that the suspects agreed to commit a crime involving defacing, injuring or 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 defendants entered a building without permission, intending to commit larceny or some other felony.

Finally, the misdemeanor criminal entry charge states the suspects 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.

Vandalism

Officials said the group, including two Lander sisters born in 1996 and 1998, broke into two cabins in Sinks Canyon in early May. The homes belong to Donald Garvin and T.M. McKee, according to reports.

Charges state Garvin's property was damaged May 1, while McKee's was damaged May 5.

"It appeared as if a group of people broke into the homes and stayed for several hours partying and basically ransacking and destroying everything they could get their hands on," Undersheriff Ryan Lee said in a press release. "We found shattered windows, holes in the walls, discharged fire extinguishers, broken dishes -- the interior of the homes and their contents were extensively destroyed."

Fremont County Sheriff's Detective Jason Cox further 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 and fire extinguisher residue was scattered throughout the residence, Cox said.

"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 a 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 reportedly observed damage to pictures hanging in the stairwell, and he saw "substantial destruction" on the second floor of the dwelling. 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.

Physical evidence

While assessing the damage to the Garvin property, FCSO Detective Eric Granlund reportedly found a receipt from the Wind River Hotel and 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. Webb told Zgurich which window was unlocked, and Zgurich entered the home that way before unlocking the front door to let the others inside.

Once they were in the house, Zgurich said everyone in the group "actively participated" in the property destruction.

"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 conducting further investigation through social media, Cox said he found a video Vinich had posted entitled "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, a truancy officer at Lander Valley High School told Cox that the sisters had "gotten into trouble" during the weekend in question.

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 girl said Lawson had picked her up on both dates and gone with her to the two dwellings.

Garvin and McKee both indicated that no one in the group had permission to be in either dwelling at any time.

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