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Grieving graffiti artists may be charged

PELHAM - Expressions of sympathy and mourning in the form of graffiti on the exterior of Pelham High School may lead to criminal charges, police said on Thursday.

In the days following the death of high school junior Zach Andrews, 16, black and blue spray-painted messages appeared on several sides of the building.

While the intent of the vandals was no doubt a sincere one, that doesn't excuse the defacing of school property, said local police and school officials, who are hoping video surveillance will ultimately reveal the vandals' identities.

Acting Superintendent Amanda Lecaroz could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

Andrews died of pneumonia complications on Jan. 19 after spending several weeks in a medically induced coma at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

An avid history buff, the young man had made many friends at the close-knit high school and was known for his great sense of humor.

Zach's friends gathered for a memorial vigil outside the school this past Sunday evening.

A noontime funeral mass will take place today at St. Patrick Church in Pelham.

Commenting on the town of Pelham's message board, Cathy Pinette said school officials made efforts to cope with Zach's death in various ways, and trained staff appointed to serve grief counselors were made available to students returning from the long holiday weekend on Tuesday.

A large photograph of Zach was placed in the front foyer, with a memory board made available for his friends and classmates to jot down messages and memories, Pinette said, and at the start of the day the entire school observed a moment of silence, with the school's bell tolling 16 times to symbolize Zach's years of life.

Zach's father, Keith, is currently the junior vice commander of Pelham American Legion Post 100 and his friends at the club are assisting the family by hosting a fundraising dinner at the town's VFW Post on Friday, Feb. 1. The event will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Patrick's Hall, 12 Main St. in Pelham.

Sunday, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

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