Man promises, ‘I won’t go back there,’ in Youngstown church vandalism case

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The suspect in the vandalism of a Smoky Hollow church earlier this year waived his preliminary hearing Thursday in that case and pleaded guilty to misdemeanors in two other cases.

A Mahoning County grand jury will now hear a fifth degree felony vandalism charge against Caleb Vancampen, 20, of East Palestine after the charge was bound over by Judge Renee DiSalvo in municipal court.

Vancampen also pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal damaging for a Feb. 19 incident at St. Elizabeth Health Center and two misdemeanor counts of theft for breaking into cars downtown on Feb. 26.

He was sentenced to time served in both cases. He has been in custody since Feb. 26 when he was arrested for the vandalism of several statutes at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Basilica on Via Mount Carmel.

Vancampen is accused of vandalizing the statues early Feb. 26. He was arrested on that charge while he was being arraigned in municipal court for the thefts. Church officials estimated up to $20,000 in damage was done to the statues.

A mental health evaluation ordered by Judge DiSalvo in April found Vancampen incompetent to stand trial, but his competency was restored after several months of treatment and he was ruled competent last week.

Judge DiSalvo also agreed to a request by the attorneys in the case to reduce Vancampen’s bond from $10,000 to $2,500 and house arrest.

Assistant Prosecutor James Vivo said a primary concern of representatives of the church is that Vancampen receive treatment for his mental health issues.

“His mental health is a major concern,” Vivo said.

Vivo said the bond gives Vancampen an incentive to undergo and complete any court-ordered treatment because if he doesn’t, he will be ordered to go back to jail.

As part of his bond, Vancampen was ordered to stay away from the church. He said that won’t be a problem.
“I don’t want to go back there,” he said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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