By Evan McDonald
Advance Ohio Media
MEDINA TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Investigators believe an unidentified vandal who dumped oil outside two officials' homes may have been motivated by the dissolution of Medina Township's fire department.
Medina Fire Chief Bob Painter on Monday found about three gallons of oil dumped on the driveway outside his home. Painter's son nearly crashed his motorcycle when he ran over the oil slick, Medina Township Police Chief David Arbogast said Tuesday evening in a news release.
Medina Township trustee Bill Ostmann also found oil outside his home July 16, Arbogast said.
"These events may have been political in nature," Arbogast said in the news release.
Painter said Wednesday that passersby have also shouted vulgarities at his department's firefighters over the past few months.
"We're not going to tolerate this type of behavior," he said in a phone interview with cleveland.com.
Medina Township dissolved its fire department in July when it signed a three-year contract for services through the Medina Fire Department. Township trustees touted the agreement as a cost-saving measure, but township firefighters and residents expressed anger and confusion at a series of public meetings.
Arbogast suggested the dissolution of the township's fire department was the likely motivation for the oil dumps.
"While every citizen has a right to voice and express his or her political views and support any candidate they choose, no one should damage other people's property and put lives at risk with this type of behavior," Arbogast said in the statement.
Ostmann, in a statement, asked his opponents in the Nov. 7 general election — who include fellow trustee Ray Jarrett, who also voted to dissolve the fire department, and two former township firefighters — to speak out against the vandalism.
"Voters are used to politicians slinging mud in campaigns. But it is absolutely disgusting that people would spread oil on driveways and jeopardize innocent lives over a political campaign," Ostmann said in the statement.
Evidence collected outside Painter's house was sent to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for testing, Arbogast said.
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