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Police log for 1/15

January 15, 2003

U-Haul used in Staples heist found empty in NY



A stolen U-Haul truck believed used in the Jan. 8 burglary in which $100,000 in merchandise was taken from the Hagerstown Staples store turned up empty on the streets of Queens, N.Y., Monday.

"The New York Police Department notified us that the truck was found abandoned Monday. They will be processing the truck for evidence for us," said Detective Steve Hoover of the Hagerstown City Police.

Hoover said another stolen U-Haul used in a similar burglary and theft of a store safe at a Fairfax County, Va., Staples store last summer also was later found in the same area of Queens.

"These crimes are exactly alike," Hoover said. "The people committing these crimes are pros."

The day before the burglary, a man posing as a telephone technician went to the store at 1631 Wesel Blvd. After the burglary, police found that phone lines to the store had been cut. The alarm system did not activate because the phone lines were damaged, Hoover said.

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That man was described as white, in his 30s or 40s, with a medium build and medium complexion, based on an employee's description.

At about 5:30 a.m. on Jan. 8, a U-Haul truck was seen leaving the Staples store. Just after 6 a.m. the store manager discovered the store had been burglarized.

Less than two hours later, the Washington County Sheriff's Department received a call about a stolen U-Haul truck matching the description of the one seen leaving the store.

The 24-foot truck with Arizona license tags AA56322 had been taken from a rental agency on Shawley Drive near Maugans Avenue.

Police asked that anyone with additional information call Hoover at 301-790-3700, extension 234.




W.Va. crash leaves driver hospitalized



RANSON, W.Va. - A Martinsburg, W.Va., man driving a pickup truck struck two oncoming cars on W.Va. 9 just west of the Charles Town Bypass Tuesday afternoon, leaving one of the drivers in the accident in serious condition, police said.

The crash occurred almost a mile west of the western end of the bypass, Ranson Police Chief Bill Roper said.

Roper said Joshua Bond, 24, of 226 Winchester Ave., was driving a 1997 Dodge Dakota pickup truck when the vehicle went left of the center line on the highway about 12:15 p.m. and struck a 1994 Ford Bronco being driven by Wilmont Carson, 71, of 220 E. Sixth Ave. in Ranson.

Bond was traveling west and Carson was traveling east, Roper said.

After Bond's truck struck Carson's vehicle, causing it to flip, the pickup struck a 1997 Honda also traveling east, Roper said.

The driver of the Honda, Linda Nezet, 53, of Arlington, Va., was flown from the scene to Washington (D.C.) Hospital Center, Roper said.

Nezet underwent surgery at Washington Hospital Center Tuesday afternoon and was listed in serious condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Bond and Carson were treated and released from Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, police and hospital officials said.

It is not clear what caused Bond to cross the center line, Roper said.

Bond was charged with driving left of center, Roper said.

W.Va. 9 was shut down for about 11/2 hours while rescue officials worked at the scene, Roper said. Traffic was re-routed through Shenandoah Junction and Leetown, Roper said.




Knife-wielding man robs W.Va. gas station



INWOOD, W.Va. - A Berkeley County Shell gas station was robbed Tuesday evening by a man who held a knife near a clerk's neck.

The robbery occurred around 7 p.m. at the gas station on U.S. 11 north of Inwood.

The female clerk who was working alone at the time was not injured, Berkeley County Sheriff Randy Smith said.

The robber ran out of the store after taking a moderate amount of money from the cash register, said Capt. Kenny Lemaster.

"The suspect was white, in his 30s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 170 pounds," Lemaster said. He was wearing beige pants, a light-colored hooded sweatshirt with the hood down, and a ball cap.

"The videotape of the man is very clear," Lemaster said late Tuesday.

A West Virginia State Police K-9 picked up a strong scent and tracked it to a spot where the robber may have gotten into a car, Smith said.

Anyone with information about the robbery may call 304-267-7000 or Crime Solvers of Berkeley County at 304-267-4999.

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