April 16, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
25°F
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Police: Vandalism was a case of ‘truth or dare’

VERMILION – Three men were playing “truth or dare” when they broke into a home and caused more than $50,000 in damage, police said.

Justin Hoag, 21, of Lorain, Steven Mahl, 18, and Joshua Mason, 18, both of Elyria, were arrested Saturday night after they bragged about it and tipsters saw stolen items in their homes, police said.

Vermilion police Sgt. Chris Hartung said police initially thought that the vandalism might be a personal attack on homeowner Brad Riggs of the 2300 block of Claus Road, but Riggs was just an unlucky target.

“It was a truth or dare thing,” Hartung said. “They were driving around and picked that house.”

The damage was reported by the homeowner`s son, who walked into the home about 2 p.m. Monday and found a big mess – somebody had smashed two big-screen TVs, an arcade game and a 55-gallon aquarium, items from the kitchen were dumped, a waterbed was slashed, a toilet was clogged, furniture and a child`s room were trashed, an obscene four-letter-word was carved into the felt of the pool table, pool cues were broken, and bar stools were slashed.

In the garage, all four tires on a 1995 Pontiac Trans Am were slashed and dog feces had been put on the vehicle`s engine.

Hoag, Mahl and Mason were being held Sunday night in the Lorain County Jail on one count each of burglary and receiving stolen property and were scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Vermilion Municipal Court.

Hoag was being held on $5,000 bond while Mahl and Mason were being held without bond, a booking officer said. Mason was listed as unemployed while Hoag and Mahl had no listed occupation, the jail official said.

A green leather jacket and snowmobile helmet were found in Hoag`s basement on 21st Street in Lorain along with several street signs for Fulton Road, East 36th Street, 15th Street and Ashland Avenue, a police report stated.

Sheriff`s deputies, the county prosecutor`s office and police in Elyria and Lorain assisted in the investigation, according to Vermilion police.

Hartung said the culprits apparently couldn`t resist bragging after news of the damage hit newspapers and TV.

“They`re not criminals because they`re smart,” Hartung said. “God bless them, it`s job security for police and prosecutors.”

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.