Police and the public working hand in hand were invaluable in apprehending two suspects who allegedly went on a graffiti spree in downtown Riverhead, Riverhed Police Chief David Hegermiller said.
Two men were charged with the early morning graffiti spree on Main Street in Riverhead on Thursday, police said.
According to Riverhead police, authorities responded to a call on West Main Street in the area of Griffing Hardware at 1:37 a.m. on Thursday in reference to reports of individuals running across the roof of the store.
Police said upon arrival, two suspects were seen running across the parking lot and entering a vehicle.
Riverhead Police Officer Alan Shule was first on the scene and was able to stop the vehicle before the suspects were able to flee, according to Sergeant Brian Gleason.
Both suspects were stopped and found to be in possession of numerous spray paint cans and Sharpe markers; authorities said after further investigation it was found that the suspects had allegedly used the spray paint and markers to create graffiti on numerous Main Street storefronts.
Gleason credited the phone call of a neighbor who notified Riverhead police of suspicious activity and the work of police officers for making the arrests. Specifically, he commended Shule's prompt action, as well as the work of police Officers Timothy Murphy and Dana Lefebvre.
Christopher J. Berg, 18, of Coram and Mark H. Cannon, 20, of Coram were both arrested.
Berg was charged with seven counts of making graffiti, a misdemeanor, petty larceny, a misdemeanor, trespassing, a violation, possession of a graffiti instrument, a misdemeanor, and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, a misdemeanor.
Cannon was charged with seven counts of making graffiti, a misdemeanor, trespassing, a violation, and possession of a graffiti instrument, a misdemeanor.
Once the arrests were made the three officers spent hours canvassing the area, to determine which buildings had been vandalized with graffiti and taking statements from affected property owners, Gleason said.
The suspects were responsible for graffiti on at least eight buildings, he added.
"I hope people realize that graffiti is damaging someone else's property, and that if you do it in Riverhead, you are going to get caught," he said.
Both were transported to the Riverhead Town Police Department for processing.
"This was a great job by the police officers and the public," Hegermiller said. "This is the way it works when you have the community helping us. This arrest might not have happened without the 911 call from a resident."
Hegermiller urged residents to get involved and contact police if they notice anything suspicious.
"Police cannot be everywhere," he said. "If you see something, say something."
Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter also praised the efforts of police and the tipster.
"I am proud of the immediate and effective response of the officers involved in this arrest. They did a tremendous job. I also want to thank the individual who called the police with information regarding suspicious activity," he said. "I encourage everyone to get involved and take pride in our great town. We can all make a difference."