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Schools

2 students and 3 others arrested in school thefts

Officials say the five stole a computer and other equipment from Wesley Chapel High School in four separate incidents last month.

By GINA PACE
Published January 11, 2007


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WESLEY CHAPEL - Five people, including two current and two former Wesley Chapel High School students, were arrested this week in connection with a series of burglaries at the school in December, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office received a tip regarding one of the suspects that led to the other four suspects, said sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin.

During four separate incidents, someone stole items including a computer, portable radios, baseball equipment and $8,000 worth of supplies from the school store, according to reports. They also broke windows in portable classrooms, spray painted the track and damaged golf carts.

School principal Andrew Frelick said some items have been recovered but that many appeared to have been thrown in water. "We're still estimating the cost," Frelick said. "It could end up being $50,000 or $60,000."

"We had to have the school re-keyed," he added, referring to the $30,000 cost of having the locks changed.

Not all the suspects have been charged with being present at all four burglaries.

School burglaries are a growing problem in Pasco, Tobin said. About 15 have been reported in the past two months. The River Ridge high school and middle school complex east of New Port Richey was hit 19 times last year, more often than any other school in the county.

The five arrested are only suspects in the Wesley Chapel High burglaries, Tobin said.

The Pasco Times is not naming the two students arrested because of their ages. The others arrested are:

- Thomas Eugene Knight, 33, 37720 Jordan Road, Dade City.

- Christopher Bradley Parker, 18, 5524 Foxtail Court, Wesley Chapel.

- Anthony Michael Hilbmann, 19, 27210 Ernst Croft Road, Darby.

Knight is the only suspect arrested who did not attend Wesley Chapel High, according to the school district.

All have been charged with burglary of a business and criminal mischief.

Gina Pace can be reached at 352 521-6518 or gpace@sptimes.com.

[Last modified January 11, 2007, 07:35:54]


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