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1 juvenile caught, 1 on loose

October 10, 1997

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - One of two juveniles allegedly involved in a chase Wednesday with West Virginia State Police was arrested early Thursday morning and turned over to a parent because there was no juvenile detention space left anywhere in the state.

The unnamed 16-year-old from Martinsburg was picked up at 3 a.m. at a residence on Rosemont Avenue after police received a tip as to his whereabouts. The other youth, a 17-year-old from Martinsburg, remained at large Thursday night.

The chase began at 6:04 p.m. Wednesday when Senior Trooper Jason Laing began pursing a stolen 1971 Chevy pickup. On Scrabble Road the pickup turned into a cornfield and the two juveniles jumped from the truck while it was still moving.

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Police found two stolen .22-calber handguns in the vehicle.

A Maryland State Police helicopter was called in, but the two eluded several troopers and Berkeley County Sheriff's deputies. One of the troopers involved in the vehicle pursuit thought he heard a shot fired, but Senior Trooper Deanna Miller said Thursday of the handguns, "it didn't appear they'd been fired."

The 16-year-old was reported as a runaway by his family late last week, Miller said. The 17-year-old ran away from home Saturday.

On Tuesday, Edgar Cutlip of Schoolhouse Road, Martinsburg, reported that the truck and handguns had been stolen from his home, along with a tote bag, video games and clothing. Cutlip is related to the 17-year-old, Miller said.

Miller said the police are still investigating other incidents that might be connected to the juveniles, including a stolen vehicle that was recovered in Morgan County.

Miller said police were preparing complaints against the juveniles, including petty theft of the gun, grand theft auto, felony fleeing and eluding and felony damage to crops. She said he would then be served with the arrest warrants.

In the meantime, the youth remains free because "there are no detention beds in the state," said Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely. She said unscucessful attempts had been made to find someplace to detain the juvenile.

Games-Neely said out-of-state detention facilities are now off-limits because the state won't pay to house juveniles outside the state.

"There was no room at the inn anywhere," she said.

The Eastern Regional Juvenile Detention Center, which serves the Panhandle, was built for 10 juvenile offenders, but currently houses 13.

"Contact your legislator and tell them you're not happy, because neither are we," Games-Neely said of the shortage of detention space for juveniles.

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