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Three teens charged in connection with Pa. burglaries

November 30, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. ? A pair of recovered stolen cell phones were a key clue in Chambersburg police charging three teenagers in connection with a series of 15 burglaries, thefts and other crimes in the borough in August.

Police announced Friday that a 15-year-old boy and two 14-year-old boys had been charged in the incidents, which occurred between Aug. 2 and 22, primarily at homes in the southeast part of Chambersburg.

The unidentified 15-year-old is charged as a juvenile with seven counts of burglary, seven counts of attempted burglary, 15 counts of criminal conspiracy, four counts of criminal trespass and four counts of theft, police said.

One of the 14-year-old boys was charged with four counts of burglary, seven counts of attempted burglary, 11 counts of criminal conspiracy and four counts each of criminal trespass and theft, police said. The other was charged with three counts of burglary, four counts of criminal conspiracy, three counts of theft and one count of theft from a motor vehicle, police said.

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"It was nose-to-the-grindstone work," Detective Sgt. Dianne Kelso said of the investigation. "This was an exhaustive investigation that literally turned upon interviews of upwards of 30 people."

The first incident was on Aug. 2, when $200 was stolen from an unlocked car on Brumbaugh Avenue, police said. On Aug. 8, a spare key was used to get into a Woodlawn Drive home and steal $160, police said.

The following day, a spare key again was used to enter a Meadow Drive home where $175 were stolen, and two cell phones and $115 were stolen when an unlocked house was burglarized, police said.

Between Aug. 10 and 13, break-ins or attempted break-ins occurred at three houses on Wallace Avenue, two on William Penn Drive and one each on Stanley and Cumberland avenues and Rosewood and Orchard courts, police said.

There was another attempted break-in on Rosewood Court on Aug. 17, and $50 was stolen in an Aug. 18 burglary on Fifth Avenue, police said.

"They all fit the same pattern," Kelso said. In addition to entering through unlocked doors or finding spare keys, the burglars gained or attempted entry by cutting window and patio screens in many of the cases.

Kelso said police got a break when the cell phones were found and turned over to police. Calls had been made from the phones, which led police to interview people who had been called. That eventually led to one suspect being identified and matched with a fingerprint found at a crime scene, Kelso said.

Kelso said the three suspects are not from the neighborhoods where the crimes occurred. They were released to the custody of their parents, police said.

The charges were filed with the Franklin County Juvenile Probation Department, which will determine whether juvenile detention hearings will be held, Assistant District Attorney Bret Beynon said Friday.

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