Charges filed for parks vandal suspect

Charges have been filed against a man suspected in a series of vandalisms at area parks going back at
least one year.
Wilbur J. Elchert, 76, of rural Fostoria, is wanted on a total of 14 counts of criminal mischief in two
separate cases relating to recent park vandalism incidents. Warrants have been issued for his arrest and
Bowling Green Prosecutor Matt Reger indicated that Elchert can turn himself in to authorities.
Graffiti, including racial epithets and anti-Obama scrawlings, has reportedly appeared at sites including
the Black Swamp Preserve and along the Slippery Elm Trail in Bowling Green and Portage, often on
port-a-johns, approximately once a week for a year. Similar graffiti has been found at the
Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature preserve, and the incidents were believed to be linked.
Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger said Friday they had previously captured surveillance of a
suspect – described as an elderly white man with gray hair and a beard – pulling a marker from his
pocket and writing on a port-a-john door. The scrawlings in the vandalisms have been made in marker.
Munger said that on Dec. 7 a parks ranger patrolling the trail came across a man closely matching that
description in the area of Portage Road.
The ranger spoke to the man, asking if he’d seen anyone suspicious on the trail. Munger said the man
appeared nervous, and drove away in a vehicle. The ranger was able to get his license number.
A previously clean port-a-john in the area was later found to have been vandalized, and rangers were able
to determine that the vandalism was done during the time the man, later identified as Elchert, was in
the vicinity.