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Vandals, thieves strike W.Va. schools

June 26, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Officials are investigating a string of property crimes which have occurred at three Berkeley County Schools since last weekend.

Wednesday morning about 3:45 a.m. firefighters were called to a suspicious fire in the playground behind Bedington Elementary School in northern Berkeley County, said Roger Barron, fire captain of the Bedington Volunteer Fire Department.

When firefighters arrived, a plastic slide and a wooden deck around it were on fire in the playground, said Barron.

Barron said there was no one around when authorities arrived at the blaze, which has been labeled as suspicious.

The state Fire Marshal's office has been asked to investigate the blaze, said West Virginia State Police Sgt. Rob Blair.

Barron said there was a breaking and entering at the school last week. Details of that incident were not available.

Last weekend, equipment was taken from Hedgesville High School and Hedgesville Middle School after the buildings were broken into, according to Superintendent of Schools Manny Arvon.

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Someone broke a glass at the high school, entered, and stole several calculators, said Arvon. Arvon said he believes whoever broke into the building was familiar with the school because they were not there long and knew which cabinet the equipment was in.

"They were educated shoppers, I should say," said Arvon.

The high school is located along W.Va. 9 just east of Hedgesville.

The same night, computer equipment was stolen from Hedgesville Middle School on Allensville Road, after someone broke into the building, Arvon said.

Arvon said he was not sure what day the break-ins occurred. The value of the equipment was not available.

State Police are investigating the break-in at the middle school, Blair said.

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