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Police log

February 26, 1997

Coach charged with sex offense

WALKERSVILLE, Md. - A volunteer football coach at Walkersville High School was charged with a sexual offense Wednesday, Maryland State Police said.

Thomas Michael Wachter, 24, of Foresight Lane in Walkersville, was charged with two counts of third-degree sexual offense and child abuse, according to police.

He was accused of sexually assaulting two female students who attend the school, according to police. The alleged offenses did not occur on school property, police said.

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State police conducted a two-month investigation after receiving a complaint from school officials, police said.

Wachter appeared before a District Court commissioner and was released on personal recognizance, police said.

School evacuated due to smoke

CONOCOCHEAGUE - About 10 teachers and staff members were briefly evacuated from Conococheague Elementary School Wednesday afternoon after smoke was detected in the school, but the culprit turned out to be a faulty light.

No students were in the building at the time because the children had a half-day of school, officials said.

The incident began at about 3 p.m. when a light ballast in the school office shorted out, said Deputy Chief Rodney Guessford, of Williamsport Volunteer Fire Co.

Guessford said school officials shut off the switch, which helped stop the problem from developing into a serious fire. He disconnected the light ballast.

As a precaution, everyone was told to leave the building and fire units from Halfway, Maugansville and Clear Spring were called in.

Fire damages Hagerstown plant

A fire caused moderate damage to a room at the Electromet plant on Commonwealth Avenue in Hagerstown Wednesday evening, fire officials said.

The fire probably started at a dust collector, and then ignited a metal, possibly magnesium, contained in PVC plastic pipe, said 2nd Battalion Chief C. Kingsley Poole.

Firefighters responded to the scene at about 7:15 p.m. and quickly put the fire out, Kingsley said.

Plant employees were evacuated before firefighters arrived, and no one was injured.

Electromet does metal fabrication work.

Two escape serious injury in accident

HANCOCK - Two women escaped serious injury Wednesday morning when their cars collided on Md. 615 at the eastbound Interstate 70 ramp near Hancock.

Michelle Gearhart, 21, of Heavenly Acres Ridge, Hancock, pulled her Chevrolet Cavalier off the I-70 ramp around 7:15 a.m. and drove onto Md. 615, where her car collided with a Chevrolet Beretta driven by Lois McDonald, 23, of Millstone Road, Hancock, according to Maryland State Police Trooper 1st Class Matt Jones.

Jones charged Gearhart with failure to stop and yield the right of way.

Both women were treated at Washington County Hospital and released, hospital officials said.

Two women charged in Md. store theft

A theft scheme at the Bon Ton department store has resulted in the arrests of a former cashier and her mother, Maryland State Police said Wednesday.

Police say more than $7,000 in merchandise was taken in November.

Gwendolyn Elaine Shriver, 48, of 16720 Tammany Manor Road, Williamsport, was charged Tuesday with 11 counts of theft and two counts of misuse of credit card, said Sgt. Greg Johnston.

Shriver was released Tuesday after posting $15,000 bond.

Her arrest came just days after her daughter, Toni Alicia Holmes, 23, of 19618 Old Forge Road, was charged with 27 counts of theft and 24 counts of misuse of credit card, Johnston said.

Holmes was released after posting $15,000 bond.

Johnston said the thefts came to light after customers called to report items on their credit card bills that they hadn't purchased.

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