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'Yogi Bear' vandalism suspects face judge

April 25, 2002|BY JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Yogi Bear was not the only victim in a southern Washington County crime spree last year that landed six of seven suspects in court Wednesday.

The crime spree in the Boonsboro and Keedysville areas ended with broken lamp post lights, residential windows and numerous vehicle windows. The damage was done with rocks and BB guns, according to court records and Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Steven Kessell.

Nine windows at Boonsboro Elementary School were damaged by BB guns or batted golf balls last November, court records state.

Washington County Circuit Court Judge Frederick C. Wright III, sitting in Juvenile Court Wednesday, referred to the youths as "a gang of malicious destructors."

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Four juveniles admitted guilt in plea agreements, including one juvenile who was involved in vandalizing a Yogi Bear statue at Jellystone Park Campground near Williamsport.

Two of the three adult suspects were in Washington County District Court on Wednesday afternoon, while the third was awaiting trial. The two in court Wednesday were suspects in the Yogi Bear vandalism.

Vandals tied a rope around the 10-foot-tall statue's fiberglass arm and used a pickup truck to try to pull the statue from its post outside the campground's entrance at around 6:15 a.m. on Dec. 16, police said.

The right arm, in a waving position, broke off, police said. The vandals drove away with the arm in the pickup, police said.

The arm is believed to have ended up in the Potomac River in the area of the Taylor's Landing boat ramp, police said.

If the arm is not found, an artist will be hired to make a cast from a similar statue and make a replacement, Park Manager Cheryl Smith said this week. Damage to Yogi was estimated at $9,000.

Joshua Aaron Crampton, 21, of Knoxville, pleaded guilty Wednesday in District Court to malicious destruction of property for his role in the Yogi Bear incident. In exchange for his plea, a charge of misdemeanor theft was dismissed.

District Court Judge R. Noel Spence ordered a pre-sentencing investigation to be complete before he sentences Crampton.

Terry Lee Doyle, 21, of 7513 Sharpsburg Pike, Boonsboro, was in District Court to ask for an attorney before his case proceeds. Doyle is charged with malicious destruction of property and misdemeanor theft in the Yogi Bear vandalism.

A 17-year-old Sharpsburg boy pleaded guilty Wednesday in Juvenile Court to five counts of malicious destruction of property, including the Yogi Bear vandalism, Kessell said.

The boy, his 17-year-old brother and a now 18-year-old boy from the Boonsboro area initially were charged with 19 counts of malicious destruction of property each, Kessell said.

The fourth juvenile, a 17-year-old boy from the Boonsboro area, initially was charged with five counts of malicious destruction of property and admitted guilt to two of them under a plea agreement, Kessell said.

Wright postponed sentencing for the brothers until a report could be completed by the Department of Juvenile Justice because both boys had several prior referrals to Juvenile Justice.

The other two boys were sentenced to indefinite supervised probation, 40 hours each of community service and restitution. The 18-year-old Boonsboro-area boy was ordered to pay $2,788 and the 17-year-old Boonsboro area boy was ordered to pay $945.

Wright ordered the two boys to apologize face-to-face to their victims, if they hadn't already. If a victim is unwilling to meet with them, they are to write a letter of apology.

The older boy had already called several victims, which he said gave him "a better view" of how they felt having their property destroyed.

"I think you ought to go around and see some of these people," Wright told the younger boy.

The older boy was ordered by Wright to attend a crime awareness program and the younger boy to attend a victims awareness program.

Wright ordered both boys to submit to random testing for drugs and alcohol.

"I can't believe all this was done sober," Wright said.

Eventually, the four juveniles and three adults are expected to be ordered to pay a total of $11,831 in restitution to be distributed among 20 victims, including the Potomac Street Creamery in Boonsboro and Thompson's Gas in Boonsboro, Kessell said. Rocks were thrown through windows at those businesses.

The incidents dated back to July 2001, Kessell said.

All four juveniles cooperated with police, Kessell said.

A third adult, Aaron Loghry Bell, 19, of 18531 Henson Blvd., Apartment 10R, is due in District Court for trial on May 14, according to court records.

Bell was charged with 11 counts of malicious destruction of property, court records state.

Not all of those charged participated in every incident, prosecutors said.

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