PENN YAN — A local teen has admitted her role in vandalizing two Yates County churches — and has agreed to cooperate in the case against her alleged accomplice.
Tiffani Hand, 18, of Penn Yan, pleaded guilty Tuesday in county court to two counts of felony third-degree burglary. Hand pleaded guilty with the provision that she would cooperate with the district attorney's office in the case against Badamy.
Hand was arrested in early July following an investigation involving village police and the county sheriff's office. Her arrest came two days after a Penn Yan man, Michael Badamy, 28, was apprehended.
Hand told county Judge Jason Cook that she and Badamy broke into a building at the Penn Yan Methodist Church during the night of June 28. Later that night, she told the judge the two did the same at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Flat Street in the town of Benton, not far from the village limits.
Hand said she and Badamy damaged and stole property inside both buildings.
Badamy faces felony charges of third-degree burglary and second-degree criminal mischief, as well as some misdemeanor charges, for damaging property in both churches. He is incarcerated in the county jail without bail.
Hand is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 4. Depending on the results of a pre-sentence report to be done by the county probation office, Cook said he could grant her youthful-offender status — if that happens, her conviction would be sealed — and probation. The judge said he could sentence Hand to jail time, although she has been incarcerated since her arrest and is set to be released later this month after spending four months behind bars.
District Attorney Todd Casella said he will be seeking restitution from Hand and Badamy if Badamy pleads guilty. Casella said while the Methodist Church reported about $250 in damage, the vandalism at the Mormon church was in the neighborhood of $4,000.