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Two teens charged with burglary, arson

February 02, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI and MARLO BARNHARTs

Two Washington County teenagers have been charged with burglarizing and setting fire to the Mount Aetna Country Store on Saturday, Maryland State Police said Monday.

The blaze caused $350,000 in damage to the 10445 Mapleville Road business, state police said.

On Monday morning, a 17-year-old male turned himself in to state police. He was charged with burglary, arson, theft and malicious destruction of property, according to police, who said he was being detained at the State Department of Juvenile Justice holdover facility in Hagerstown.

Police wouldn't identify the youth because he was charged as a juvenile.

Later Monday, state police charged Derrick Steven Carter, 18, of Smithsburg, with burglary, arson, theft and malicious destruction of property.

He was being held on $50,000 bond.

Maryland State Police worked with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and investigators of the State Fire Marshal's Office.

Investigators recovered evidence and statements from neighbors, which helped them identify suspects, police said.

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"Names began to surface right after the fire and we followed up," said Trooper 1st Class T.E. McDonough of the state police.

"We had identified the first suspect within the first 10 hours," said Jim Woods, of the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Robert Hahn ruled the fire an arson on Saturday. From the beginning, police and fire marshals believed the fire was set by someone trying to cover evidence of a burglary.

The fire began at 4:04 a.m. inside the one-story building, according to Hahn.

It was fully involved by the time firefighters arrived, and took them an hour to extinguish.

There were no injuries.

The owner of the store is out of the country, Hahn said.

About 45 firefighters from Mount Aetna, Boonsboro, Funkstown, Smithsburg, Wolfsville, Myersville, Long Meadow, Maugansville, Leitersburg, Washington County Emergency Air Unit, Civil Defense, Rehab. Unit and Community Rescue Service responded to the blaze.

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