Police link burglaries to students

Check of truancy records at Northern High School leads to five arrests

February 09, 2002|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

A spike in burglaries in Northeast Baltimore and truancy records of some Northern High School students led to the arrest of five students this week, police officials said yesterday.

The five Northern students are accused in five of 26 burglaries of houses near the school, Col. Robert M. Stanton, chief of detectives, said at a news conference at police headquarters.

Police would not identify the juveniles by age or say what grades they are in. School system spokeswoman Edie House referred questions to police.

With 2,000 students, Northern is the third-largest of the city's nine neighborhood high schools. Students and teachers recently have complained that conditions there are unsafe and out of control.

Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris said Northern Principal Betty Donaldson and other school personnel "cooperated fully" with the police investigation.

"The burglaries were taking place during school hours," Norris said. "We had a feeling it might be kids."

Items taken during the burglaries included compact discs, Sony PlayStation video games and jewelry, said police spokeswoman Ragina C. Averella.

"Police were looking at the locations, determining that they were occurring around the same time of day, and they made a correlation between the burglaries and truancy at the school," Averella said. "They actually stopped a child who was truant and should have been at school at that time, and he was in possession of some items that had been stolen from one of the houses."

Norris said the five students could be charged with other break-ins near Northern and that additional students also could be charged.

Police said a Northern teacher who may have purchased jewelry from one of the students was served with a criminal summons. Police declined to identify the teacher.

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