ELKHART — Three 15-year-olds have been charged with felonies after police say the teens set the vacant Goshen Inn on fire on Monday, Aug. 12.
The teens are being charged with arson, burglary and criminal mischief, according to a press release from the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office.
In the delinquency petitions filed Thursday, Aug. 22, police say the three juveniles piled up cardboard boxes, wood furniture and paper and then lit the pile with a lighter. The three fled when the fire grew larger than they could control. The property loss was estimated at $150,000.
During the Goshen Police Department’s investigation, police discovered the group had visited the Goshen Inn several times and “caused approximately $20,000 in damage from broken windows, mirrors and graffiti,” according to the press release.
The teens were arrested Thursday, Aug. 15, and each had a detention hearing on Monday, Aug. 18.
The three juveniles are being held in Juvenile Detention Center and have separate hearings in Juvenile Court scheduled for Monday, Aug. 26, Tuesday, Aug. 27 and Thursday, Aug. 29.
The inn was the scene of a crime two years ago in October 2011 when then-owner Kiran Patel was found murdered in the hotel which he was working to renovate.
A man he had hired to help him, John Hawley, was convicted of killing Patel and sentenced to 65 years in prison on February 2012.
The inn has been vacant since Patel’s murder.
The building at 1375 Lincolnway East, could be around for some time. The current owners owe $320,000 in back taxes and penalties on the property. If the owners cannot pay the taxes, the city of Goshen will take ownership around the beginning of 2014.