Rider accused of vandalizing METRO buses


Carter Allen Lobdell, 25, is accused defacing the buses starting in May. A METRO maintenance supervisor in Kingwood started noticing the graffiti inside the buses, written in black and white permanent marker in what appeared to be a foreign or mythical language. The graffiti was written on the arm rests of chairs, window seals, panels between windows and kick panels on the floor.

Eight buses in total had the same type of graffiti. The graffiti in each bus was almost identical in placement and style, and all the buses had the same words and symbols on the armrests. The supervisor noted at least 115 individual writings on the buses, and he told police it cost $5,175 to repair the damage.

On September 14, METRO police got a Crime Stoppers tip about a man who had been writing graffiti on the METRO buses that run from the Kingwood park and ride location to 1000 Lamar. On September 22, the officer went undercover on a bus on that route and immediately spotted a man fitting the description from the tipster.

According to court documents, the officer saw Lobdell writing on a window seal with a sharpie when he passed him to take a seat. Fresh graffiti similar to the other buses was present.

The officer confronted Lobdell, who denied writing on the bus, but did give the officer permission to search his bag, where he reportedly found black and white sharpie paint pens and a black sharpie permanent marker. Lobdell continued to deny creating the graffiti, but reportedly said he would be willing to pay whatever it costs to make this go away because he didn't want the government in his life.

Dozens of buses were vandalized by the graffiti, which was removed each night before the bus was returned to service. METRO police tracked the data from Lobdell's travel card and discovered he ridden the affected buses.

Bail has been set at $2,000 for the felony charge of graffiti.

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