BERLIN – Three area teenagers are facing a number of charges following the vandalism spree that left more than 30 vehicles and several buildings damaged in downtown Berlin.
Police on Tuesday charged two juveniles from Ocean Pines and Jordan Alexandria Denton, 18, of Ocean City, with malicious destruction after dozens of vehicles were found covered in spray paint Jan. 25. Several buildings, garbage cans and even town electric meters were also damaged.
Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing thanked area residents and business owners for their help in identifying the suspects through surveillance camera footage.
“We’re really pleased the business owners got on top of it really quick,” Downing said.
Denton and the juveniles, one 16 and another 17 at the time of the incident, face 39 malicious destruction charges. Downing said the vandalism spree resulted in more than $11,000 in damage reported by 36 separate victims, one of which was the Town of Berlin. Municipal property damaged included a car, 10 electric meters and four trash cans.
An additional 33 vehicles and three buildings were also spray painted during the incident. Damage spanned much of the downtown area—Ann Court, Ann Drive, Branch Street, Buttercup Court, Harrison Avenue, Henry’s Mill, Littleworth Court, North Main Street, Pitts Street, Powell Circle, West Street and William Street.
Although police originally identified 15 potential suspects, interviews and the review of the surveillance camera footage enabled them to narrow the list. During Monday’s meeting of the Berlin mayor and council, Downing credited his officers with putting in hundreds of extra hours to complete the investigation.
He also praised owners of the targeted vehicles and buildings for removing the spray paint—some of which spelled out racial slurs—as fast as they could.
“Getting rid of the damage as quick as possible is a positive thing for us,” he said.
Councilmember Lisa Hall said she was surprised the vandals targeted Berlin in the first place.
“I’m amazed that in this day and age the way everything has cameras that people think they can walk down the street and do things like that,” she said.
While Downing acknowledged that surveillance footage had helped solve the crime, he stressed that it was still important for citizens to keep their eyes open.
“We need you to look out your windows, pay attention to your surroundings,” he said. “If you do see anything suspicious go ahead and give us a call then and there.”
He again thanked residents who’d called the department with tips in the wake of the vandalism.
Mayor Gee Williams agreed and said he was glad to hear citizens had been helpful throughout the investigation.
“Bad things happen but it’s how we react to them that’s important,” he said.