Suspect charged in connection with Pine Hall Cemetery vandalism

Vandalism to headstones in Pine Hall Cemetery was discovered May 27.
Vandalism to headstones in Pine Hall Cemetery was discovered May 27. CDT photo

Police have charged a State College man with the vandalism of Pine Hall Cemetery.

Timothy L. Penrod, 24, is in custody at the Centre County Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 straight bail after Ferguson Township police charged him with institutional vandalism, desecration of venerated objects, criminal mischief, criminal attempted burglary, criminal attempted trespass and insults to the national flag.

The charges stem from the Memorial Day incident in which, police say, he toppled 15 gravestones; attempted to break in to a secured maintenance shed, leaving a shoeprint on the window; and burned an American flag.

Damage was estimated at $2,400. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The arrest comes after Penrod’s 210 Southgate Drive residence was the subject of a search warrant earlier in the week.

According to court documents, police found evidence at the scene, including a credit card receipt with Penrod’s name for a purchase made at 11:23 p.m. Monday.

Police also found a baseball hat, a cellphone, a beer can and “other forensic evidence” that pointed in the defendant’s direction. Police said he made alcohol and food purchases in downtown State College between 11 and 11:30 p.m., wearing a hat that matched the one found at the scene and sneakers that matched the print left on the window.

The request for a search warrant included all shoes and footwear belonging to that individual for comparison to the shoeprints on the damaged window. Court documents show that three pairs of Nike athletic shoes were seized when the warrant was served.

The address listed on the search warrant is one of six community residence rehabilitation services operated by Strawberry Fields Inc. and granted a certificate of compliance by the state Department of Public Welfare on Oct. 28. The facility is licensed through November.

The Pine Hall damage followed a costly vandalism spree at the historic Boalsburg Cemetery on May 4, when more than $100,000 in damage to old and some irreplaceable monuments occurred.

State College police have said the two cases may be connected. Lt. Keith Robb would not comment on a potential suspect or arrest in the Boalsburg case this week, but said information may be released early next week.

Police also are investigating a possible connection between the cemetery damage and two acts of arson in the Orchard Park area May 18.