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Police seek three in W.Va. home invasion

August 01, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Three males, including one armed with a pistol, forced their way into a Berkeley County home early Tuesday and ransacked it before leaving with an item for which they apparently were searching, police said.

A woman and three children at 15 Champion Court in the Spur Cap subdivision who were sleeping when the break-in happened were not injured after being held at gunpoint, according to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department.

"The male continued to point the pistol at the adult female while the other two males began ransacking the home, asking her to tell them the location of their drugs, guns, money and jewelry," Sheriff's Deputy Sgt. D.S. McGown said in a press release.

"The female told them that she did not have (any) of those items," police said.

Police were dispatched to the Champion Court home at 5:44 a.m., McGown said.

The woman told police the males entered her home through the rear door of the residence and came into the bedroom, where she and two of her children were sleeping, McGown said. A third child was in the living room and remained there during the break-in, police said.

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"The male (armed with the gun) told her not to make any noise and ordered her to take the children and get in the bedroom closet," McGown said. The woman later told police she heard one of the males indicate he found what they were looking for and they then left in a vehicle.

The incident off Berkeley Station Road is believed to be related to a crime in the Falling Waters, W.Va., area that also happened Tuesday morning, McGown said.

"They're definitely connected," said McGown, who described the home invasion as a "targeted crime."

"The Berkeley County Sheriff's Department wants to assure residents in the area of Champion Court that this crime is not believed to be a random act, that the particular residence at Champion Court appeared to be a definitive target for the suspects, and, further, it is highly likely that the suspects may be somehow known or associated with the victims," McGown said.

One suspect was described as a "light-skinned" young male with a Spanish accent. The other two suspects are black. Their ages were believed to range from the late teens to mid-20s, and they are 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall, McGown said.

The males were wearing black hooded sweat shirts with the hood covering their head in such a fashion that their faces partially were concealed, McGown said.

Investigators from the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department are working with West Virginia State Police in the investigation of the home invasion and the Falling Waters incident, McGown said.

"The residents of both locations are known associates," McGown said.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. G.S. Petsko said the trooper investigating a separate incident in the Falling Waters area determined the crime to be a burglary, not a home invasion. Petsko was unable to elaborate on the circumstances of the incident, and the investigating officer was not available.

Anyone with information concerning the crime or who might have seen the suspects or any suspicious vehicles parked in the general area of Berkeley Station Road and Rankin Circle may call McGown at 304-267-7000 or Berkeley County Crime Solvers at 304-267-4999.

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