The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

September 24, 2013

Photos help police arrest brothers in graffiti caper

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Staff Writer

CONNEAUT — Two alleged vandals who apparently are fans of their own work will appear in Conneaut Municipal Court today, charged with defacing railroad property late last week, according to reports.

Christopher Lunger, 26, 213 High St., Conneaut, and Steven Lunger, 19, of Route 6N in Albion, Pa., have been charged with obstructing official business, criminal mischief and criminal trespassing, a court spokeswoman said Monday afternoon. Christopher Lunger is free on bond while his younger brother, because he lives out of state, was kept in city jail, according to reports.

The brothers are accused of damaging private property in the area of the Norfolk Southern, CSX and Bessemer and Lake Erie railroads near the Pennsylvania line early Friday morning, police said. Photos of graffiti found on Christopher Lunger’s cellular telephone raised suspicions, officers said in a report.

Police were dispatched to the area around 8:40 a.m., after receiving a call about a suspicious vehicle on Thompson Road. In recent months, the isolated road has been a popular jumping-off spot for people trying to smuggling contraband into nearby Lake Erie Correctional Institution. A short time later police encountered the Lungers at the end of  Thompson Road. The brothers told officers said they were in the area to indulge a hobby of watching and photographing trains.

Police asked to view the photos, according to a report. Christopher Lunger began indexing photos on his cell phone in view of an officer, and among the shots were images of graffiti, police said. Christopher Lunger denied causing the damage in the photos, officers said. The brothers were arrested for trespassing, police said.

Soon after, Steven Lunger helped police locate a backpack along a track that contained a dozen cans of spray paint, Police Chief Charles Burlingham said Monday. While searching for the backpack, officers discovered railroad property they believed had been defaced with the paint, police said.