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Rewards offered in Pa. school break-ins

December 22, 2005|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A reward of as much as $4,500 is being offered for information on a string of elementary school burglaries in Pennsylvania, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Police have been investigating 12 break-ins at area elementary schools since July. Dell and Hewlett Packard laptop computers, Mitsubishi projectors, flat screen monitors and other electronic equipment were stolen from computer labs at the schools, police said.

Police said Wednesday that more than 150 computer and electronic devices - worth $150,000 - have been stolen since July.

The Chambersburg Area School District offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest, along with a possible $2,000 reward from Franklin County Crime Solvers, police said.

Three Pennsylvania State Police barracks, along with the Newville (Pa.) Police Department are consolidating their investigation into the string of burglaries, believing it is the same person or group of people committing the crimes, police said.

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Items were stolen July 6 from Newville Elementary School, at 100 Steelstown Road in Newville, and from Big Spring Senior High School, at 100 Mount Rock Road in Newville, on July 7, police said. Big Spring Middle School, also in Newville, was burglarized July 13 and July 20.

Lurgan Elementary School, at 8888 Roxbury Road in Lurgan, Pa., was broken into the night of Nov. 9, and about $8,900 in equipment was stolen. The school was broken into twice in September and about $13,000 in equipment was stolen.

Plainfield Elementary School, at 7 Springview Road in Carlisle, Pa., was broken into Nov. 9, and Grandview Elementary School in Chambersburg, Pa., was hit Nov. 3 and Dec. 3, police said.

In the November burglary of Grandview, at 5538 Cumberland Highway, 27 laptops were taken, along with a Dell Palm Pilot, three Kenwood headsets and a transmitting monitor for the visually impaired.

Rockhill Elementary School, at 23 Meadow St. in Rockhill Furnace, in Huntingdon County, was broken into Dec. 7. The most recently reported burglary was at Mifflin Elementary School, at 399 Roxbury Road in Newville, on Dec. 14, police said.

Security systems are now in place to prevent future thefts, police said.

The stolen electronics might have been offered for sale before the holidays on Internet sale and auction sites, police said. The computers and other stolen items also might have been upgraded or altered, police said. The stolen electronics might have been sold at a reduced price.

Anyone with information about anyone who has been buying, selling or dealing in large quantities of laptop computers, projectors or related equipment since July is asked to call police.

If anyone believes they might have bought one of the stolen laptops or computer devices, police said, they must contact police now to prevent prosecution for receiving stolen property.

Information may be given to Franklin County Crime Solvers at 717-263-3000 or online at franklincountycrimesolvers.org. Anyone with information about the burglaries may also call police at 717-264-5161 or 717-249-2121.

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