Monico Vacation Home Vandalism UpdateSubmitted: 01/30/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

MONICO - Piece by piece and memory by memory, a family with a vacation home in Monico is recovering. Their home was viciously destroyed by burglars. We showed you their vandalized home last week.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office arrested all three suspects in this incredible act of vandalism. But the Wierzbicki's will need a lot more than that to pick up the pieces.

This week they struggled to figure out where to even begin.

"We had to inventory each item on each one of these pages," says Brian Wierzbicki, while paging through an itemized list of personal items that were destroyed. Three hundred of them in all.

That doesn't include the major structural damage to the property. There isn't a wall, ceiling, floor, or light fixture left intact.

The family has already put in 60 hours of work cleaning up their home. But for every layer of destruction they clear, they find another.

"They used a pick axe and a wood axe and chopped up the concrete. Many, many things were discovered beneath mattresses and things like that," says Wierzbicki.

The Wierzbicki's are still in limbo with their insurance company. Brian says he'll have to wait and see how the case plays out in court before he'll feel any better.

"There's a really seriously strange mindset that would allow them to do this much damage, with this much violence, for this amount of time, and then just move on to something else," says Wierzbicki.

One of the suspects, 17-year-old Jeffrey Stefonik was in Oneida County Court Wednesday. He's charged with six felonies, including burglary and criminal damage to property.

A 15-year-old is being charged in juvenile court.

Seventeen-year-old Anthony Briggs is also charged in this case, and out on bond.

Surprisingly, we reported Briggs was allowed to participate in a Three Lakes High School wrestling match Monday.

"Something I enjoyed has been destroyed and it's amazing that they're able to participate in something that they enjoy," says Wierzbicki.

We asked Superintendent Dr. Karling why Briggs hadn't been suspended from the Wrestling team, and he declined to comment.

WIAA rules state a player can be suspended for tobacco, alcohol and controlled substances. But it also says they can be suspended for violating the school's code of conduct. No word on whether felony criminal charges count.

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But there are plenty of people, often elderly or sick, who want to go to church but have a hard time doing so.

Peace Lutheran Church in Park Falls wanted to change that. Since May, they've been undergoing some construction. On Sunday, the church had a dedication ceremony for a special new addition—an elevator.

Now people like 100-year-old Ruth Olson can worship with greater ease.

Before the elevator, Olson said she would get to church by literally pulling herself up the stairs using the railing.

Olson's story is like many. As the older population grows, church buildings don't evolve with them. The buildings are often old and sometimes lack accomodating features for the elderly or disabled, and takes money to update the buildings.

"We have churches where the people are getting older and it's very hard for people to get around," said Rev. Dwayne Lueck, the district president for the North Wisconsin District Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod.

Some parishoners couldn't do what Ruth used to do, and so they would have to worship at a service held across the street in the day care center, instead of in the beautiful church.

"Now all the services can be over here," said Rev. Dale Heinlein, the pastor of Peace Lutheran.

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"We been talking and planning this for...a long time," said Dick Ross, president of the congregation. "Pretty hard for some of the people, and I think you saw them, pretty hard for some of the people to worship here, so it was time."

"You can see it in their eyes more than anything when they know they have access and when they come up here and just enter the building and no steps, it's a great thing," said Buzz Peters, a parishoner who helped design the new elevator and space.

"We can finally have access for everybody to get into the worship facility, free access, that's what this is all about," Heinlein said. 

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