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Five arrested in vandalism of Pisek church, priceless painting

PISEK -- Five suspects have been arrested in connection with vandalism that left a Pisek church temporarily closed and coated a priceless 124-year-old oil painting with fire extinguisher retardant.

PISEK - Five suspects have been arrested in connection with vandalism that left a Pisek church temporarily closed and coated a priceless 124-year-old oil painting with fire extinguisher retardant.

The Walsh County Sheriff's Department arrested Joshua Trebor Weis, 19, Bowdon, N.D.; Michael John Young, 18, Park River, N.D.; and three juveniles, Sheriff Ron Jurgens said Thursday. Weis and Young have appeared in Walsh County District Court for bond hearings on charges of Class C felony criminal mischief.

The charges stem from an April vandalism case that left St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church in Pisek temporarily closed. Vandals entered the church and emptied two fire extinguishers, coating almost everything inside the church, including that painting by Czech artist Alfons Mucha. The suspects also helped themselves to soft drinks, climbed into the choir loft and rang the church bells before running away.

The damage to the church totaled more than $24,000, Jurgens said. The painting has been restored and the church reopened in late May, the Rev. Prasad Marneni said.

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