Two men face charges in connection with vandalism in the Lewes area that included several Cape Henlopen school buses.
A school employee first noticed a bus spray painted with profanity and a racial slur on Oct. 16 at the district bus lot off Kings Highway, and the employee immediately contacted police, said Master Cpl. Gary Fournier of the Delaware State Police.
Superintendent Robert Fulton said several buses were vandalized, one with a racial slur and profanity.
“Although this incident did not involve any Cape Henlopen School District students, it is still a reminder to us that we must remain focused in our efforts to provide an inclusive culture in our schools and promote tolerance and acceptance for all,” he said.
Police received additional calls throughout the morning Oct. 16 about vandalism behind Midway Movie Theater, Boulevard Ford and Heritage Village. Fournier said spray painting included a forklift and mobile office trailer at Midway, five vehicles at Boulevard Ford and a privately owned vehicle in Heritage Village on Bethpage Drive. The forklift, two cars at Boulevard Ford and a privately owned vehicle were spray painted with racial slurs. All the other objects were spray painted with vulgar words, he said.
In order for the spray painting to be considered a hate crime, Fournier said, a specific person would have to be targeted.
Fournier said police used surveillance images of a white Buick passenger car that was connected to Zachary J. Baughman, 19, of Lincoln and a passenger Steven T. Swain, 22, of Harrington. The two were stopped by Lewes Police Department at 1:50 a.m. Oct. 16, Fournier said, but no further information was available.
Delaware State Police contacted Baughman and Swain at their residences and the two men were charged with five counts of graffiti and five counts of third-degree conspiracy. They were arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 2 and released on $10,000 unsecured bond.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated