– By Josh Durso
On Thursday, South Seneca Central School District Superintendent Steve Zielinski confirmed that district officials and the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office was investigating vandalism, targeting outdoor portraits of seniors at South Seneca High School.
Less than 24 hours after FingerLakes1.com confirmed that an investigation was underway – Sheriff Tim Luce announced three arrests.
The press release said that posters were vandalized during the early morning hours of April 29th.
Sheriff Luce said Michael Wilkins, 19, of Willard; Tangalean Kio, 18, of Ovid; and Jonathan Siccardi, 18, of Interlaken were all charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, and making graffiti.
The criminal mischief charge against Wilkins was elevated to a Class E felony due to it being classified as a ‘hate crime’, according to the press release.
All three were released on appearance tickets.
Sheriff Luce says that two other adolescent offenders have been identified, and will appear in Seneca County Probation at a later date.
Luce says investigators worked closely with administration from the South Seneca Central School District.
On Thursday, Superintendent Zielinski shared his disappointment with the vandalism.
“As we’ve spoken about at length, this crisis is difficult enough, and it’s especially disappointing that an effort to honor and celebrate the senior class was targeted for attack,” Zielinski said on Thursday to FingerLakes1.com. ” It only adds to our sadness for this great group of students, and all they’ve adjusted to as they lose their opportunity to be together in their last year of high school.”