BURGETTSTOWN, Pa. - Ronald Fay Boyer, 19, of Burgettstown, along with two minors, has been arrested for causing tens of thousands of dollars of damage to Burgettstown Middle/High School June 28-29, according to Smith Township Police Chief Bernie LaRue.
Boyer, a former Burgettstown student, has been charged with two counts of corruption of minors; two counts of burglary; two counts of criminal trespass; two counts of theft by taking; 100 counts of criminal mischief; and 38 counts of receiving stolen property, according to court records.
The two minors, who are current students, were being held at the Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center in Steubenville, Ohio, Tuesday, according to police.
In addition, Mark Shriver, 18, of Burgettstown, has been charged with hindering an investigation. LaRue said when officers tried to interview Boyer as part of the investigation, Shriver lied to law enforcement officers about Boyer's whereabouts. Magistrate Judge Gary Havelka set Shriver's bond at $20,000 Tuesday, and he is being held at the Washington County Prison. He will have a preliminary hearing at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday before Havelka.
LaRue said the three suspects gained access to the school by breaking a rear cafeteria window at approximately 1 a.m. June 28. At that time, the trio allegedly vandalized a soda machine and stole several items. Between 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. the following morning, June 29, the three suspects returned and allegedly pushed through the plywood the school maintenance crew had put over the window, according to reports.
That was when the greatest amount of damage was done, said LaRue.
"They shattered the trophy case, they went into the principal's office and wrecked it, they totaled the computer lab," he said. "I don't think there's a machine left in there that they (the school district) can still use."
LaRue said he continued to receive reports of damage from the school district Tuesday.
In addition to the destruction, the group allegedly stole a display of class rings, which included approximately 16 rings from Union High School, Burgettstown High's predecessor, and Burgettstown High School. At least one of the rings displayed dates back to 1918, representing Union High School's first graduating class. LaRue said Smith Township police had recovered five rings, but there are 10 to 11 more still missing and police are working to locate and recover them.
The police were able to locate the suspects by studying film provided by the school district from the school's security system. The suspects attempted to conceal their identities by covering their faces. LaRue said both police officers and school officials viewed the film and made a list of suspects. Once the department began interviewing suspects, one confessed almost immediately, leading to the arrests, according to LaRue.
Boyer's bond was set at $250,000 Tuesday by Havelka, and he is being held at the Washington County Jail. He will have a preliminary hearing before Havelka at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to court records.
(Wallace-Minger can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)