Richland man arrested for politically-themed vandalism and theft spree

2 min read3,082 views and 163 shares Posted September 15, 2020

A 24 year old Richland man was arrested Monday, Sept. 14, for an alleged Sunday night vandalism spree in Lebanon County.

The man – identified as Jon Guy Shanfelder – currently faces seventeen charges according to state judicial records. In a release announcing the arrest, Lebanon District Attorney Pier Hess Graf said all of the charges relate to a “series of events wherein the Defendant went onto private property, stole political signs, damaged and vandalized structures, equipment, and vehicles.”

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The Affidavit of Probable Cause for the charges includes approximately one dozen locations around the county where Shanfelder is alleged to have committed criminal mischief or theft, including:

  • At various locations, placing “BLACK LIVES MATTERS” stickers on vehicles and doors and stealing Diamond and Trump election signs, as well as American flags
  • On the 00 block of Laurel Drive in Jackson Township, spray painting “RACIST” on a truck
  • On the 100 block of Millardsville Road in Jackson Township, spray painting “ACAB” in front of a property

The affidavit includes incidents of vandalism in Jackson Township, Myerstown Borough, North Lebanon Township, Richland Borough, and South Lebanon Township.

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The affidavit describes additional damage reported to North Lebanon Township Police Department at MGD Tractor & Equipment, where steel and wooden frames displaying Trump signs were said to be damaged (and the signs stolen) and two tractors and the business’ sign spray painted as well.

The affidavit states that an investigation turned up security camera footage showing an unknown male leaving one of the properties, removing an American flagpole from the ground, cutting a Trump flag, and placing a “Black Lives Matters” flag on the front door. The male proceeded to drive away in a dark color Mini Cooper.

According to the affidavit, Shanfelder had been mentioned as a possible subject on social media. Pennsylvania State Police ran his name through a PennDOT database and were able to confirm the presence of a blue Mini Cooper at his listed addressed and belonging to him.

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The affidavit says that troopers were contacted by another individual who saw security footage on social media and identified the person as Shanfelder.

Troopers took Shanfelder into custody at his Richland Borough residence on Monday night, Sep. 14, at which point he was read his Miranda rights and, according to the affidavit, consented to an interview in which he admitted to stealing multiple signs, cutting multiple flags with a silver box-cutter, and spray painting “RACIST” and “ACAB” on private property.

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Shanfelder was arraigned Monday night in front of Magisterial District Judge Anthony J. Verna, with total bail set at $60,000.

“I want to be clear, my Office and the law enforcement of Lebanon County will not tolerant violent, destructive behavior,” said DA Hess Graf in the release. Preliminary estimates of property damage from the incident exceed $6,000, said Hess Graf.

State judicial records show Shanfelder as having been unable to post bail and remaining at present in Lebanon County Correctional Facility, with a preliminary hearing scheduled in front of Judge Verna on Sept. 24 at 8:00 a.m.

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