Manitou Springs police have arrested a man they say is responsible for the vandalism of over 50 monuments and graves in May.
Police arrested Landon Wayne Johnston on July 2 after a tip they received from a resident. Johnston is accused of felony criminal mischief, defacing property and criminal tampering.
City parks and recreation crews arrived to an unsettling scene at the Crystal Valley Cemetery the morning of May 26.
More than 50 grave sites and monuments had been toppled or broken, and garbage littered the cemetery. Crews also found a small area that had been burned.
“We are delighted to be able to make an arrest regarding the cemetery vandalism case,” Bill Otto, interim chief of police, said in a statement. “The Crystal Valley Cemetery is a historic point of interest in our community and it pains us to see the damage done to the sacred property.”
The Crystal Valley Cemetery was established in 1890 after land was provided by Isaac Davis in 1882. It has been Manitou Springs’ only cemetery ever since.
Johnston’s arraignment is set for Sept. 9. This is the first time he’s been accused of these charges in El Paso or Teller county, according to past court dockets.
Previously, $5,000 was offered as a reward for information that led to the capture of the culprits. The Pikes Peak Area Crime Stoppers said they have reached out to the individual who offered the reward money to see if they are interested in the money, but that those funds had not yet been sent because the tip that led to Johnston’s arrested was reported to the police department, not Crime Stoppers.