Police, school officials probe thefts from Mount Hebron High

Hammond athletes said to be implicated at meet

April 08, 2005|By Hanah Cho and Melissa Harris | Hanah Cho and Melissa Harris,SUN STAFF

Howard County police and school officials are investigating thefts involving Hammond High School track athletes, who have been implicated in an incident in a Mount Hebron High School locker room during a meet there Wednesday, authorities said yesterday.

About 120 to 200 male and female athletes from Hammond, Mount Hebron and Howard high schools participated in the competition that ended with police asking students to return stolen goods. No arrests were made.

Police are looking into charges, said Pfc. Jennifer Reidy. She said police are looking into who stole what from whom.

Administrators at each school are investigating the incident, and some students could face disciplinary action, school officials said.

"They're investigating and appropriate punishments will be given," said Mike Williams, the school system's coordinator of athletics. "That might involve suspension or removal from the team or suspension from school."

At some point during the meet, male athletes from Hammond entered the boys locker room at Mount Hebron and took several items including calculators and iPods, according to Patti Caplan, the school system's spokeswoman.

Cameras and some cash were also taken, Reidy said.

School administrators also found some minor vandalism in the locker room, including books thrown into toilets, Caplan said.

The theft and vandalism were discovered before the competition ended, prompting police to hold back team buses from Hammond and Howard, Caplan said.

Police and coaches asked the students to return the stolen items, Caplan said. Stolen material was recovered only from Hammond students, police said.

"We told them it was in the their best interests to return the property," Reidy said.

Joe Russo, Hammond's athletic director, said he could not comment on how many Hammond athletes might have been involved and whether students would face disciplinary action.

"We're still doing the investigating," Russo said. "We don't have any information we're giving out at this time."

Erica Wright, a senior and captain of the Hammond girls track team, said she was "disappointed and a little mad" about the incident. Other track members at the school yesterday said practice was canceled.

"It's very disappointing for the seniors on the team," she said.

Aaron Maybin, 17, a junior from Mount Hebron who competed at Wednesday's meet, said he found his cell phone, his $25 in birthday money, an MP3 player and a few textbooks missing when he went back into the locker room.

"I was really disgusted," said Aaron, who got only his cell phone and books back. "I was most upset because that kind of thing is not called for."

Staff writers Rick Belz and Audrey Goldberg contributed to this article.

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