Five Lewes Fire Department firefighters are suspended from their duties following an Oct. 4 incident in which the Worcester County Sheriff's Office says the men damaged more than a dozen mailboxes.
Stewart William Pryor, 28, of Millsboro; Dylan Lee Sharp, 19, of Milton; Franklin Adam Martin, 23, of Milton; Sean James Magee, 23, of Selbyville; and Addison Hill-Bittner, 22, of Rehoboth Beach were charged with 16 counts of malicious destruction of property valued less than $500 and one count of malicious destruction of property of more than $500, said Deputy Christopher Barrs of the Worcester County Sheriff's Office.
Barrs said a resident of Bishopville, Md., called the Sheriff's Office at 1:15 a.m. to report several people were riding in a dark colored pick-up truck and damaging mailboxes.
A Maryland state trooper stopped the pick-up truck near Route 90 and Saint Martin's Neck Road, and found four men in the bed of the truck with 29 watermelons, Barrs said.
Barrs said the men hurled watermelons at mailboxes along the road trying to destroy them.
The men admitted to damaging 14 mailboxes, one Waste Management trash can and one church parsonage sign, Barrs said.
The Ocean City Police Department transported the men to the Sheriff's Office where they were charged and released pending a future court appearance.
The men identified themselves as Sussex County firefighters.
Troy Virden, chief of the Lewes Fire Department, said the men are volunteer firefighters with the company. Some of them had recently competed in the Basic Life Support event in Dover where they won medals for competition, he said.
“They have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation,” Virden said.
He declined to comment further.