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updated: 3/11/2014 1:47 PM

Bail remains at $500,000 for woman accused of vandalizing multiple Lake County churches

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  • Meghan Heinze

    Meghan Heinze


A Lake County judge decided not to change the bail set for a Gurnee woman accused of vandalizing 21 religious institutions during a six-day period last month.

However, defense attorney Evan Winer requested in Lake County court Tuesday that another bond hearing be conducted for Meghan Heinze, 22, after a psychological review is completed at the Lake County jail later this month.

She is held on $500,000 bail, of which she must post 10 percent to be released.

"It's clear she has significant emotional problems," Winer said during a bond review for Heinz in front of Judge Raymond Collins.

He added that Heinze was taking medication and was under the care of a psychiatrist before the vandalism she is charged with in Gurnee, Waukegan, Libertyville and unincorporated Lake County between Feb. 14 and Feb. 20. Heinze has no prior convictions, and was working at a fast-food restaurant and attending classes at College of Lake County before her Feb. 28 arrest.

"Her parents are horrified by this," Winer said, adding he was unsuccessful in contacting Heinze's psychiatrist before Tuesday's hearing.

Heinze, of the 100 block of Wellington Court, remains charged with 10 counts of criminal defacement of a place of worship, 10 counts of institutional vandalism, and two counts of criminal damage to a place of worship after she admitted to spraying-painting hateful graffiti on the multiple religious institutions.

If found guilty of the most serious charge, she could be sentenced up to seven years in prison.

Authorities said Heinze vandalized 10 houses of worship in Gurnee, nine in Waukegan, one in Libertyville and one in unincorporated Lake County near Green Oaks, officials said.

The vandalism involved an obscene message accompanied by a smiley face in red spray paint near the entrances of those places of worship, officials have said.

The targets included St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Christian Church and the Islamic Foundation North on O'Plaine Road in Waukegan, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Route 20 in Gurnee.

Authorities said a video and still picture of Heinze vandalizing a house of worship in Gurnee was distributed to area police departments and the media for assistance. Police officers attending branch court Feb. 27 identified Heinze in court and apprehended her at her home later that day.

Authorities said Heinze has admitted to the vandalism spree, adding she did it because she was angry with religion and upset that people were "following a book written thousands of years ago."

Officers have also recovered red spray paint used in the attacks and a baseball bat used to break windows in various locations.

She is due back in court April 7 for a status update.

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