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Boy, 14, gets probation for Lowe's fire

November 12, 1999

The second of two teens implicated in the Aug. 9 arson fire at the old Lowe's building on Wesel Boulevard was placed on indefinite probation Wednesday in Washington County Juvenile Court.

The 14-year-old boy pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary in October. His co-defendant entered the same plea.

Wednesday, Judge John H. McDowell ordered the teen to perform 50 hours of community service and complete a victim awareness program and a fire safety course, according to Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Susan Lochbaum.

The 13-year-old co-defendant received the same sentence when he appeared in court Nov. 3.

"These are extremely serious matters that could have resulted in death as well as the destruction of property," McDowell told the boys in October.

A fire in a detached shed at the old Lowe's building was discovered Aug. 9 by a West Virginia family passing the store. A closer look revealed some pallets inside the store had been set on fire.

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When discovered, the boys ran out the back of the store, climbed over an 8-foot barbed wire fence and headed into a nearby development.

The older boy told a cousin about the incident

As part of the plea agreement, arson and other charges were dropped against the boys, one a student at Williamsport High School and the younger at Springfield Middle.

- Marlo Barnhart

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