Tate Township, Clermont County- Clermont County Sheriff A. J. “Tim” Rodenberg said today that charges have been filed regarding an investigation into several episodes of graffiti painting on a wall just west of Bethel in Tate Township on State Route 125. Rodenberg said “three separate incidents were investigated successfully, and all parties involved have been identified and charged”.
Rodenberg reported “eleven individuals (nine adults and two juveniles) were identified by Investigators and determined the total loss by the state for paint and labor amounted to over $2,100.00.
“Local citizens and volunteers organized and painted a striking mural of the American Flag on the wall in April 2011” Rodenberg said. Within a month the first incident of graffiti occurred when four subjects spray painted “Big Bullhorn”, “Wong Dong Daddy from the Naddy”, “Iron Kong Lives”, “God Bless Bethel” along with other drawings on the wall. At that time no official report was made to law enforcement, and the graffiti was covered up.
Charges of Criminal Mischief (3rd degree misdemeanor) were filed on the following for this offense: Lyle Behymer, age 18, of 2427 Swings Corner Pt. Isabel Rd. Bethel; Ryan Behymer, age 18. of 2427 Swings Corner Pt. Isabel Rd. Bethel; Patrick Helton age 18, 1245 Deblin Rd. Milford; and Caleb Castle age 18 of 2438 Cedarville Rd. Goshen.
The second incident occurred between June 13th and June 14th 2011 when five subjects painted over the flag again. They used black paint to draw inappropriate and foul language and graphic pictures according to Chief Deputy Rick W. Combs. This prompted a call to ODOT and the news media by a local resident and business owner, Russ Whitley. ODOT painted the entire wall white on June 13, 2011, to cover up the graffiti. “This particular act drew a lot of outrage from the community” Combs said. As a result residents in the community contributed and offered a $1,000.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those individuals involved. For this second act charges of Criminal Mischief (3rd degree misdemeanor) were filed on the following: Matthew Plunkett age 18 of 2152 Donald Rd. in Bethel; Thomas Russell Jr. age 18 of 1314 SR 133 in Bethel; Joseph Crawford age 18 of 310 N. Union St. in Bethel, a 17 year old juvenile from Hamersville, and another 17 year-old juvenile from Cincinnati.
The 3rd and final incident took place the evening after the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) had painted the entire wall white. Various symbols and letters were spray painted on the wall with red and purple paint. For this incident, Criminal Mischief (3rd degree misdemeanor) charges were filed against Tyler Bullock age 18; of 3567 Starling Rd. in Bethel and Zachary Tyler Baker age 18, of 2540 Bethel Maple Rd. in Bethel.
The nine adults have been notified and served summonses and have a scheduled court date of Friday, July 8, 2011 at 8:30 AM in Clermont County Municipal Court. As per Juvenile Court procedures the juveniles will be mailed their summonses via US Mail. Photographs are not available on the above listed individuals at this time. Chief Combs said one person did come forward during the investigation and offer some information to investigators about the purchase of some paint as a result of the reward offer; yet most of the success resulted from the efforts of the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office investigative unit through following up on several leads and conducting dozens of interviews.
Sheriff A. J. “Tim” Rodenberg