Two suspects arrested in Lewes graffiti case

Zachary A. Baughman

LEWES — Lewes Police Chief Tom Spell described it as “good police work with a little bit of luck worked in.”

An unrelated early morning DUI traffic stop helped develop suspects allegedly connected to graffiti spray-painted on school buses and other property in the Lewes area, authorities said Tuesday.

A Lewes officer stopped driver Zachary J. Baughman, 19, of Lincoln, for a vehicle without headlights on at approximately 12:42 a.m. Monday near Kings Highway and Dewey Avenue, Chief Spell said.

Mr. Baughman was also charged with DUI and failure to remain in a single lane and eventually released from custody, according to authorities.

Steven T. Swain

Later in the day, Chief Spell said, a different Lewes police officer was speaking with his Delaware State Police-employed sister when they realized the stop might be connected to video of a vehicle in the graffiti investigation.

The vehicle in the video looked similar to the one in the traffic stop and was eventually connected, police said.

In a probable cause affidavit filed by Delaware State Police, a trooper reported that Mr. Baughman allegedly admitted to spray-painting the graffiti and that passenger Steven T. Swain, 22, of Harrington, “was with him during each of the incidents.”

Police were notified by Cape Henlopen School District that racial slurs had been spray-painted on the side of two buses parked in a lot adjacent to Cape Henlopen High.

An employee made the discovery when arriving at the bus lot around 5:40 a.m. and the district immediately called 911, police said.

Additional graffiti was reported at 8:26 a.m., police said, and troopers were dispatched to an area behind Midway Movie Theater where a forklift and mobile office trailer had been vandalized with spray paint, spokesman Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said.

Boulevard Ford on Coastal Highway had five vehicles spray-painted along with a privately-owned vehicle located in Heritage Village on Bethpage Drive, police said in a news release.

Troopers examined surveillance video of a white Buick passenger car taken at 12:17 a.m., during the investigation, police said in papers, which led to the arrests.

The occupants in the vehicle were described in the affidavit as a “white male operator and what appeared to be an unknown white passenger.”

Police said both defendants were contacted at their homes later in the day and they then turned themselves in to Troop 7.

Charges included five counts each of graffiti third-degree conspiracy. Not guilty pleas were entered, according to court documents.

Mr. Baughman and Mr. Swain were arraigned through Justice of the Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach and released on $10,000 unsecured bond.

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