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Prevatt charged in burglaries, thefts

January 22, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- The man police say pretended to hold a woman hostage in a Hancock hotel during a standoff with police in August has been charged in connection with 11 unrelated burglaries and thefts throughout Washington County, court records show.

James Abraham Prevatt III, 26, formerly of Moncks Corner, S.C., faces 33 new charges, including seven counts of first-degree burglary and seven counts of theft of more than $500 in value, according to charging documents filed in Washington County District Court.

A warrant with the new charges was issued in October, but was not served until Tuesday because Prevatt had been transferred to another facility due to mental health concerns, Maryland State Police Sgt. David Bowers said. Prevatt has returned to the Washington County Detention Center, Bowers said.

Prevatt's girlfriend, Rene Leyette Reynolds, 21, also of Moncks Corner, S.C., was charged last fall in connection with the same incidents.

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Prevatt and Reynolds were arrested Aug. 22 after a 45-hour standoff during which Prevatt portrayed Reynolds as a hostage, Maryland State Police said. Police later alleged Reynolds was complicit in the situation.

The new charges stem from an interview with Prevatt's cousin, who told investigators Prevatt was involved in nine burglaries and six thefts throughout the Tri-State area in the month leading up to the standoff, Bowers wrote in charging documents. Two of the thefts were in Pennsylvania, one was in West Virginia and one was in Frederick County, Md.; the other 11 incidents were in Washington County, according to Bowers' report.

Prosecutors in the other counties will decide whether to file additional charges there, Bowers said.

The total loss value from the incidents is about $50,000, charging documents show.

Prevatt's cousin, Betty Peck, 25, of Falling Waters, W.Va., said Prevatt and Reynolds began using marijuana, cocaine and Ecstasy while they stayed with her family from May to July, Bowers wrote. In mid-July, Prevatt's uncle discovered he was wanted in South Carolina, and Prevatt, Reynolds and Betty Peck moved in with Peck's friend, Heather Miley, 28, of Hagerstown, Bowers wrote. Peck alleged to investigators that there were numerous times she and Reynolds dropped Prevatt off to break into homes and picked him up with stolen items, Bowers wrote. Miley also confirmed details about several incidents.

The incidents included the July 18 theft of almost $7,000 from a Clear Spring McDonald's and thefts of electronic items, jewelry, credit cards, weapons and currency from homes, Bowers wrote. Some of the stolen items were sold at pawn shops, some were traded to drug dealers and others were recovered from the hotel room, Bowers alleged in the court documents.

Peck was charged via criminal summons with six counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary and one count of conspiracy to commit second-degree burglary, court records show. Miley was charged via criminal summons with two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary and one count of conspiracy to commit second-degree burglary, court records show.

Another person, Tahir Ade Cogburn, 30, of 949 Maryland Ave. in Hagerstown, was charged with two counts of theft of more than $500 in value after investigators determined some of the stolen property was sold or traded to him, Bowers said.

District Judge Mark D. Thomas ordered Wednesday that Prevatt's bond in the case remain at $300,000, court records show. Prevatt appeared at the hearing via closed-circuit television, according to court records.

He also is awaiting a jury trial on charges threatening arson, theft of more than $500 and drug possession, which stemmed from the standoff, court records show. A hearing in that case is scheduled for Jan. 29.

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