An upstate New York man was arrested for holding four young boys in a closet pending the arrival of police after catching them in the act of vandalizing a relative’s home to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
Jesse Daniels, who lives in the Wayne County village of Clyde, heard pounding coming from the vacant home of his father-in-law late at night and went to investigate as his wife called 911. He was shocked by what he’d found, according to Fox News.
Walls and cabinets were destroyed with hammers and paint was splattered all over walls, floors and cabinetry. Windows were smashed and demeaning references to women were spray painted on the walls not totally destroyed. Virtually no room was left untouched.
He also found four boys, age 8 and 10, hammers in hand, destroying the home that Daniels had been remodeling. He estimated the damage to exceed $50,000. He then held them in a closet until police arrived.
“I was fortunate that they were in that room that had a closet, so I put them in the closet,” he told a local TV station. “I said, ‘Listen, you guys are staying here until the police come, period.’”
When they came, they surveyed the damage and arrested the boys for felony burglary and criminal mischief . That was on June 8.
On Monday the police returned — not because they had followup questions, but rather to arrest Daniels on child endangerment charges for threatening and traumatizing the boys, the parents saying that he’d grabbed one by the neck, leaving a mark.
“I understand they were in the wrong, but there are other ways to handle it,” parent Paul Bowler told WHAM. “He (Daniels) knew who the kids were. It’s not like they were strangers. And send the kids home and call the cops then. You don’t sit there and torment them and tell them you’re going to bash their skulls in with a hammer.”
Daniels was surprised and desolate over the charges.
“I am sick to my stomach over this,” he told the Wayne County Times “I was a nervous wreck. I did what I thought was the right thing.”
Complicating matters even further, the parents of the boys may also be facing charges according to District Attorney Richard Healey.
Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes reported:
“We are looking into the parents,” Healey said. “The parents of the children may in fact be prosecuted.”
Healey wants to know why the children were out on the streets so late at night and said the parents could be charged with endangering the welfare of their own children.
He also said the children may be responsible for other acts of vandalism around the village.
Once all the facts come out, it could be that Daniels will be exonerated.
“It may very well be his conduct – even if he had a hammer – could be justified,” he said. “It’s a little more difficult when you are dealing with an eight-year-old.”
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