Banjo retrieval leads to arrest

October 23, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - An Alaska man told Martinsburg City Police on Thursday that a large man broke down a set of doors to the Martinsburg Train Station while helping him retrieve a banjo and backpack locked inside.

Eric Matthew Chadwell, 23, of Juneau, was arrested at about 10 a.m. Thursday at the intersection of Queen and King streets, according to Detective George Swartwood. He was charged with trespassing and destruction of property and later released on $734 bond.

The report said a station attendant had locked up the building at about 6 p.m. Wednesday. At 9:58 p.m. Wednesday, police found two trackside doors broken in, a window broken and a street-level metal grate lifted out of place.


When he was arrested, the report stated, Chadwell told police he had asked the attendant Wednesday if it was all right for him to leave his belongings in the station for a while. Chadwell said he came back after 5 p.m. and found the station locked, the report said.

Chadwell said a "physically large man he did not know busted down the doors after he told him about his belongings being locked inside," according to the report.

After breaking down the doors, Chadwell said, the large man left on a train, the report said.

Chadwell, however, still could not get to the part of the station where his backpack and banjo were located, according to police. The report said he admitted to lifting the grate in an attempt to find a way in and then to breaking the window with a rock to get inside.

The report said Chadwell left an unsigned note saying he was sorry for breaking the window. The report also said he left to get a screwdriver to try and repair the doors.

The attendant told police Thursday that the banjo and backpack were still inside when he locked up the station Wednesday evening and were missing Thursday morning.

The Herald-Mail Articles