MIDDLETOWN, NJ – On December 10, 2020, Chief R. Craig Weber of the Middletown Twp. Police Department announced that a subject has been arrested in connection with a months-long investigation of incidents of graffiti in the Oak Hill section of the township.
Detective First Class Daniel Sullivan and Detective Keith Hirschbein arrested Charles J. Traina, 20, of Middletown, following their investigation involving a series of acts of criminal mischief that were first reported on August 24, 2020. The graffiti consisted of political messages, including anti-police, anti-government, and anti-Middletown Township slogans and words. The graffiti was observed on the street, sidewalks, and on several utility boxes in the area of Howland Road, Lyon Road, and other streets in the Oak Hill area. When the graffiti was removed, Traina returned and again vandalized those areas with more hateful messages. In one of the acts of vandalism, Traina taunted and challenged the police, painting “come get me MPD.” Following his arrest, Traina admitted to detectives that he was the person responsible spray painting the graffiti.
Chief Weber stated, “Unfortunately, this incident is a reflection of the turmoil and lack of civility often occurring in our society during these very difficult times. We need to be more respectful towards one another and remember that there is so much more that unites us than divides us. It is important to balance exercising our rights without inciting or resorting to violence, or defacing and destroying property. Actions such as those are never acceptable, and those who engage in this type of criminal activity will be held accountable.”
“I’d to like to thank the Middletown Township Police Department for its thorough investigation ending in the arrest of Mr. Traina,” said Mayor Tony Perry. “Not only did his cowardly act cost the taxpayers unnecessary expense, it placed an unfortunate stain on an otherwise peaceful area of the Township.”
Traina was charged with one count of Criminal Mischief, a 4th Degree Crime, and subsequently released on a summons complaint.
Any persons arrested or charged with offenses are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Additionally, except in specific circumstances, arrest and complaint information and names of those charged may be released.