Nearly six months after a nighttime spray painting spree shocked Berlin residents, two suspects will go to trial in Worcester County District Court on Friday morning, June 19, on 40 vandalism-related charges that resulted in $11,276 in damages.
The defendants, Nick Bonser, 18, of Berlin, and Jordan Denton, 18, of Ocean City, face 39 charges of malicious destruction of property and one count of theft less than $100. The theft charge is believed to be in conjunction with the spray paint itself, taken from a nearby Wal-Mart shortly before the incident occurred on the evening of Jan. 25.
According to the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s office, an unnamed juvenile suspect entered into a plea bargain and submitted a plea of “involved” to all 40 charges.
The state’s attorney may only discuss outcomes when dealing with juvenile cases, so sentencing recommendations and details are unavailable.
In February, Berlin Police reported 36 separate victims, including the Town of Berlin, which had one vehicle, 10 electric meters and four trashcans spray-painted. Three buildings and 33 additional cars were sprayed during the incident that spanned a dozen streets: Ann Court, Ann Drive, Branch Street, Buttercup Court, Harrison Ave, Henry’s Mill, Littleworth Court, North Main Street, Pitts Street, Powell Circle, West Street and William Street.
Renaissance Plaza, the Evergreen Masonic Lodge, Town Center Antiques and vehicles registered to Nestle Dreyer’s Ice Cream and Delaware Elevator Inc. also suffered damages.
According to the statement of charges, Berlin police were dispatched to the municipal parking lot at 103 Williams Street at approximately 11:38 p.m. on Jan. 25 in response to a call that several vehicles had been spray-painted.
Law enforcement logged the buildings, meters and trashcans, as well as 10 vehicles, that evening. On the following morning, police received 23 additional reports of damaged vehicles and recovered several discarded cans of spray paint.
A police investigation led authorities to the three suspects. According to the report, Bonser and the juvenile admitted, during police interviews, to obtaining the spray paint from the Wal-Mart and “riding around spraying painting vehicles and buildings.”
The report went on to state that Denton admitted to stealing the paint from Wal-Mart and “coming to Berlin with [the suspects] and spray painting cars and buildings.”
Berlin Police said they obtained video from Wal-Mart showing the three suspects allegedly stealing spray paint from the store at approximately 9:36 p.m.
Police said all of the crimes occurred between 9:36 and 11:38 p.m. “pursuant to one scheme and continuing course of conduct, willfully and maliciously defacing [properties].”
Denton was served papers on Feb. 11 and had a scheduled hearing on March 13 at 9 a.m. at the district courthouse in Snow Hill. The result of that hearing is unknown.