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Parents praised by county judge

April 23, 2001

Parents praised by county judge



By MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

The parents of a South Hagerstown High School student who turned their son into the authorities for stealing a school computer last year were praised Wednesday in Washington County Juvenile Court.

"I know it was difficult but you parents did the right thing," said Judge Don Beachley. The teen was found guilty of one count of felony theft and detained overnight.

On Thursday - the boy's 18th birthday - Beachley brought the boy and his parents back into court and allowed him to go home on community detention to await disposition in the theft case.

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The $2,300 laptop computer was reported missing on Nov. 27. Its value was $2,300, according to Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Susan Lochbaum.

On Jan. 13, Detective Bill Rourke of the Hagerstown City Police got a call from the boy's mother who turned him in for the theft, Lochbaum said.

When confronted, the boy told police the school custodian gave him the computer but he couldn't identify that employee.

Rourke questioned the boy's sister, who told police her brother admitted to her back in November that he stole it from South High, Lochbaum said.

The parents found the computer and brought it and their son to police headquarters.

"I commend these parents ... it was very responsible of them," Lochbaum told the judge Wednesday.

Beachley learned the boy has missed more than 60 days of school this year even though, by all accounts, he is very capable academically.

The judge ordered a drug-and-alcohol screening in case that is a factor in the boy's behavior. Disposition will be within the next 30 days, Beachley said.

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