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Area man enters guilty pleas in connection with June incidents

Eric Todd Woods entered pleas to two counts of burglary and one count of institutional vandalism in connection with two fi

Eric Todd Woods entered pleas to two counts of burglary and one count of institutional vandalism in connection with two fi

January 06, 2003|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG - A Chambersburg man pleaded guilty to several charges stemming from arsons at two local schools last spring.

Eric Todd Woods, 21, of 2795B Letterkenny Road, entered guilty pleas on two counts of burglary and one count of institutional vandalism, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Woods, who entered into the plea agreement last week, will be sentenced in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on March 19.

In exchange, Woods will not be sentenced on other charges, including two counts of arson, one count of criminal mischief and one count of theft.

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The charges stem from two fires set at Cumberland Valley Christian School in Chambersburg on June 4 and 5, the attempted arson of Falling Spring Elementary School on June 7 and the burglary of a Greene Township home in June.

Woods was identified as a suspect in the Cumberland Valley Christian School arson in part because someone noticed his car at the scene of the fire and told police it seemed out of place, police said.

He was charged July 3 after a nearly monthlong investigation.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Woods said that at 3 a.m. June 4, he went to Cumberland Valley Christian School, at 600 Miller St., Chambersburg, and set fire to some tar paper in the area of new construction of the school.

He told police he returned 24 hours later and broke into the computer room and set fire to the curtains, causing the room to catch fire and destroy the entire room and equipment. He also said he set fires to the exterior of the school, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

A neighbor walking a dog near the school spotted the fire, which was found in the computer room in the rear of the school, in a storage trailer, outside a propane tank and in a pile of lumber being used for new construction.

There was little fire damage to the interior of the school. Heat melted the computers and destroyed the lab.

Damage was estimated at $150,000, and has since been repaired.

The school, which is behind the Open Door Church, was closed for the summer.

Woods said he broke a rear window of Falling Spring Elementary and attempted to set the curtains on fire. However, he said they would not light and he left the scene, the affidavit said.

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