By Sarah Lang The Lebanon Reporter
---- — The mysterious story following Sandra K. Harlan, 47, Lebanon, who was arrested in March for defacing several Lebanon buildings with spray paint, along with other odd actions, made the No. 9 spot in the top 10 stories of the year.
On March 20, cryptic spray-painted symbols resembling backwards letters were found on several buildings, including on two of the four massive limestone pillars at the Boone County Courthouse, and on the facade of the Lebanon Public Library. Police estimated damage between $4,500 and at least $17,500.
Harlan, 1300 block of Brooke Drive, allegedly went on her spraying spree that Friday night and Saturday morning. Video surveillance strongly resembled Harlan, who was arrested the following Wednesday.
During the overnight vandalism frenzy, Harlan also allegedly defaced statues and planters at the Key Bank building and on the walls of several downtown businesses. Along with the spray paint work, a plush dog chew toy, wrapped to a paving brick with clear package tape, was thrown through a window at Cuttin’ Loose hair salon, 304 S. East Street.
On a hunch, Lebanon Police Det.-Sgt. Tony Bayles said he went to the Lebanon Wal-mart and requested to see surveillance tapes. Camera recorded a woman purchasing spray paint and a dog chew toy. The toy found in the hair salon was identical to the one the woman bought at Wal-mart. Using the license plate number obtained from the Wal-Mart cameras, police found the vehicle at Harlan’s home on Brooke Drive.
After an initial hearing, Judge Jeffrey Edens scheduled Harlan’s trial on one felony and eight misdemeanor charges for July 8. Bond was set at $5,000 surety or $550 cash. One of the charges is a class D felony with a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $10,000 fine; the other charges are class A misdemeanors, with sentences of up to 180 days in jail and a $10,000 fine.
In July, Harlan’s trial was postponed for a month, until Oct. 7, at the request of her lawyer, Debbie Smith. Negotiations between Smith and the Boone County Prosecutor’s Office over a plea agreement continued.
And in early October, Harlan’s trial was delayed again, at her request, until 2014. According to court documents, Harlan requested a jury trial. But her case is filed in Boone Circuit Court, which at the time was being used for the murder trial of David Camm. Harlan’s new court date is now Jan. 13, 2014.
Traces of the painted symbols, one similar to a capital B and another to a reversed capital J, remain visible on the courthouse columns despite efforts to remove them.