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Police seek man on theft, sexual assault charges

July 17, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Police in Mercersburg and Hagerstown are looking for an 18-year-old man who escaped last week from a Mercersburg police officer who wanted to question him in connection with assaults on two people, Mercersburg Police Chief Larry Thomas said Wednesday.

Arrest warrants have been signed by Franklin County District Justice David Hawbaker in Mercersburg for James Elliott Poole, whose last known Mercersburg address was 106 S. Main St.

He is charged in the warrants with car theft, assault, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, escape, resisting arrest, sexual assault, statutory assault and related sex crime charges, corruption of a minor and loitering.

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Poole also is wanted by police in Hagerstown on two warrants. One, issued June 11, charges him with five counts of failure to comply with a peace order, according to police. The second warrant, issued June 15, charges Poole with failure to comply with a peace order, contributing to the condition of a child, trespassing on private property and a fourth-degree sex offense, police said.

In January, Hagerstown police served Poole, who was 17 at the time, with an adult arrest warrant on kidnapping and sexual offense charges. Police at the time said they were looking for Poole in connection with alleged contacts with an underage girl. He also was charged at the time with one count each of second-, third-, and fourth-degree sex offenses involving the girl, police said.

He was put on the Hagerstown Police Department's most-wanted list.

According to Thomas, Poole ran off occasionally with a 13-year-old Hagerstown girl, who is now 14.

Police charged Poole with assaulting the girl on East Seminary Street in Mercersburg on July 10. A teenage boy who witnessed the assault and stepped in to help the girl also was attacked, Thomas alleged.

When a borough police officer went to Poole's home to question him about the attacks, Poole and the girl left through a side window, Thomas said. He hasn't been seen since, but the girl was caught near the Lions Club park shortly afterward, the chief said.

Charges will not be filed against the girl, Thomas said.

Thomas said he believes Poole is hiding out either in Mercersburg or the Hagerstown area. He said anyone assisting Poole will be charged.

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