BEL AIR — A 12-year-old boy has been identified and criminally charged in the cases of vandalism in Bel Air.
Over the past two days, the Harford County Sheriff's Office have responded to four vandalism incidents in Bel Air involving political and vulgar speech, two incidents were at a local middle school.
As a result of patrol by a Harford County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Deputy, a 12-year-old boy was identified, and subsequently turned himself into law enforcement.
He has been charged in all 4 incidents investigated by the HCSO to the Department of Juvenile Services referral.
He is being charged with four counts of malicious destruction of property.
On October 12, the School Resource Deputy at Southampton Middle School was alerted by staff members of graffiti that was spray painted on the outside of the building.
In that case, vulgar images and profanity were spray painted on the school, along with political messages.
Deputies were called again on October 13 for additional vandalism that occurred in the overnight hours. This time, more graffiti with similar messages were spray painted on the building.
Additionally, On October 12, deputies responded to a home in the 1100 block of Malkus Way. There, deputies found a “Trump 2020” flag damaged, and the home vandalized with profanity spray painted.
The incident happened sometime between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m.
On the morning of October 13, deputies responded to a home in the 800 block of E Broadway in Bel Air for another vandalism complaint.
Deputies were informed by the homeowner that someone stole three Trump signs out of his yard on October 12, so he replaced them with additional signs.
Then in the overnight hours, an unknown individual spray-painted profanity on his home, and spray painted over his Trump sticker on his car.
Several Bel Air neighbors woke up to their homes vandalized and now police are searching for the suspect caught on security cameras.
"It’s frustrating to say the least," said Joseph Malandro.
Malandro woke up at around 6:30 Monday morning to a knock on the door from police, telling him his garage and truck had been vandalized overnight with "BLM" and anti-Trump graffiti.
"I’m a quiet guy. I'm not boisterous. I have no political signs out front of my house. I actually have a satire sign 'Wu Tang is forever 2020' so I was kind of taken back by it," said Malandro.
Police first responded to the Major's Choice Community in reference to reports of vandalism to homes in the area. After a canvass of the neighborhood, they found 8 incidents of graffiti on garages, trucks, flags, porches and stop signs. The crimes likely occurred between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Monday morning.
"We’re not going to tolerate it," said Bel Air Police Chief Charles Moore.
He drove around the neighborhood Monday, removing what's left of the graffiti.
"We don’t want any type of graffiti hanging around or hate motivated type of messages. That’s just not what we are about and we don’t want our community to see those type of things and to think we aren’t on top of it," said Moore.
Police released a surveillance photo of the suspect and are hoping for help in identifying them.
Due to the footage being captured in an infrared format, the actual colors of the suspect's clothing are dark, rather than light.
The Bel Air Police Department welcomes tips on potential suspect(s) in this case and are pursuing all leads to this incident and others, to include posting of racist stickers supportive of the white supremacy movement.
"We want people to call us immediately so we can hold those people accountable," said Moore.
In the meantime, neighbors are hoping they don't continue to fall victim to the political divide.
"You can't say one person is bad and then go do something bad. That’s very hypocritical in my opinion. So just be free, mind your own business and worry about yourselves," said Malandro.
Anyone caught committing these criminal acts, will at a minimum face charge(s) of vandalism which carries a fine and penalty of (at a maximum) of 3 years in jail or a fine not to exceed $2,500, or both.
In addition, Bel Air Police continue to look for information surrounding the application of Patriot Front stickers defacing public and private properties throughout town.
Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to contact OFC. Gordon Hunt at: email@example.com or 410-638-4500.