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Drugs, metal thefts plague Washington County in 2012

December 28, 2012
  • Carol Marie Brown
File photo

Editor’s note: As we usher out 2012 and welcome 2013, The Herald-Mail has prepared a package of year-end stories that provide short recaps of some of the top stories of the year past.
These stories will be published each day through New Year’s Day.

Funny money

January 16 — In mid-January, local police started receiving reports of counterfeit money showing up at local businesses, a problem that would persist for months.

The fake bills were passed at restaurants and convenience stores.

Counterfeit bills also showed up when people tried to sell merchandise on their own.

One case stemmed from an incident Jan. 15 in which a woman sold a Sony PSP and 11 games to a person in a parking lot, according to court records.

The woman said a man stepped from a silver sport utility vehicle and handed her a $100 bill and three $20s.

The woman said she attempted to use the $160 at a local store and was told by store workers that the currency was “non-genuine,” the records said.

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Police at one point during the year arrested two men in connection with counterfeit bills but investigators said the men were not connected to all the fake money being used in the county.

The men were arrested after police searched a city home on March 1 at 738 Summit Ave., where the two lived, and found a trash can containing sheets of paper with printed images of currency, according to court records.

— Dave McMillion
 

City shootings

Jan. 23-24 — Hagerstown police investigated two shootings on two consecutive days. They said they did not believe the shootings were connected.

The first shooting was reported at about 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 at the intersection of Cannon Avenue and North Mulberry Street near Fairgrounds Park. Police found a man with several gunshot wounds, including one to the torso.

The next day, a wounded man was found on Jonathan Street. That shooting was reported shortly after 1 a.m. on Jan. 24 in the 300 block of North Jonathan Street. Officers who responded found a man in front of an apartment building with a gunshot wound to his head.

Capt. Mark Holtzman said at the time that both victims were taken to Meritus Medical Center east of Hagerstown.

The victim of the first shooting survived.

The victim of the second shooting, Christopher Lee Follett, 29, of New York City, died Jan. 26.

Police charged Juan Sylvester Barnes, 28, of no fixed address, in the Follett shooting. Barnes was charged with one count each of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, handgun use during a crime of violence and felon in possession of a handgun.

Barnes was sentenced to serve 65 years in prison.

— Dan Dearth

Sneaker flap

Feb. 4 — Valley Mall was locked down and temporarily evacuated after more people became unruly while they were waiting to buy a new Nike sneaker at the Foot Locker shoe store.

About 15 officers from the sheriff’s office, Maryland State Police and Hagerstown Police Department responded to the store at 8:10 a.m. after they were notified that about 100 people had created a disturbance while waiting in front of the Foot Locker for the release of the new Nike Foam sneaker.

When officers arrived, they discovered that 100 to 150 people were involved.

“Apparently, a lot of people had been waiting a long time and people started butting in line,” Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore said at the time.

Police said some people told them they had been in line waiting to buy the shoes since 7:30 the night before.

Mullendore said that after the mall was evacuated and locked down, patrons who were waiting to buy the shoes were escorted into the store a few at a time.

No arrests were made.

— Dan Dearth

MCI disturbances

Feb. 24 — Two disturbances in one night at the Maryland Correctional Institution south of Hagerstown led to disciplinary action against four correctional officers and the transfer of some inmates.

The disturbances occurred Feb. 18, with the first “a minor assault on (an) officer” in a segregation unit, Rick Binetti, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said at the time.

Binetti said the second disturbance “began when a large group of inmates in a locked recreation hall became disruptive and refused to comply with officers’ orders.”

Some inmates “did throw liquids and/or other items,” he said.

Officers who responded to the recreation hall — a common area on a tier — used “nonlethal weaponry” to quell the disturbance, he said.

A source who asked not to be named said correctional officers broke out windows and used tear gas and rubber bullets.

Binetti would not describe what officers used to subdue the inmates, but said “staff did break windows.”

He said no staff members were seriously injured.

— Dan Dearth

Cold case acquittal

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