LA PLATA, Md. - A Charles County Crime Solvers tip led to the arrest of three teens and an adult in connection with a spree of property destruction and hate crimes that occurred between 2006 and 2007, the Charles County Sheriffs Office announced.
The tip, provided in March, identified three suspects who spray-painted profanity, racist graffiti and obscene phrases at several locations in Charlotte Hall. Officer J. Richards interviewed the three suspects and through those interviews he identified a fourth suspect.
During his investigation, Officer Richards determined all four suspects were responsible for four incidents involving property destruction and hate crimes. In the first incident, the suspects spray-painted profanity and racially-offensive phrases on road signs, the blacktop and a barn on Bowling Drive in Charlotte Hall and on the entrance signs for Whisper Creek, a neighborhood off of Bowling Drive. The incident was reported June 15 at 6:20 a.m. and occurred sometime after 10:45 p.m. the previous night.
Sometime between 4:30 p.m. Feb. 16 and 4:45 p.m. Feb. 27, they spray-painted a vulgar word and obscene drawings on a mailbox in the 10100 block of Bowling Drive. Between 6 p.m. Feb. 18 and 7 a.m. Feb. 19, they spray-painted profanity on the sign for St. Marys Catholic Church, located at 11555 St. Marys Church Road in Charlotte Hall. They also spray-painted profanity, racist graffiti and obscene drawings on a road sign and a barn on Bowling Road, and on a pickup truck, an oil tank and a trailer located at a construction site nearby. Sometime between 7 a.m. March 10 and 9 a.m. March 12, they spray-painted the 9500 block of Stone Street Road in La Plata with a vulgar word.
Three 15-year-old La Plata boys are being charged with hate crime and 10 counts of property destruction. David Arthur St. Clair, 19, of La Plata is charged with hate crime and 11 counts of property destruction. The accused are white. The victims include Charles County Government, the construction company at the Bowling Road site, the church, a white woman and two white men.
The Charles County Sheriffs Office has arrested three other groups for hate crimes and property destruction. A Hate Crimes Task Force comprised of the Sheriffs Office and the FBI is actively investigating other unsolved hate crimes and is asking anyone with information to contact Charles County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS. All callers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest or indictment.