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Arrests made in December high school break-in

MAIDEN — Maiden Police have arrested three 16-year-olds and charged another juvenile in a December break-in at Maiden High School.
According to Lt. Tracy Ledford with Maiden Police, Zachary Owens of Conover, Joshua Farley of Newton and Dontea Kennedy of Maiden all face felony charges in the case.
“They’re all charged with felony breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods,” said Ledford in a news release.
Kennedy was jailed on a $7,500 unsecured bond while Owens was released on a written promise to appear in court.
Another suspect, a juvenile whose name wasn’t released because he/she is under the age of 16, was turned over to the juvenile court system.
A fifth suspect, Robert Cox, 18, of Maiden, is still wanted by police.
“Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at (828) 428-5005,” said Ledford.
The arrests come after a Catawba County grand jury indicted three of the five suspects earlier this month.
Cox was originally arrested on the felony charges when students returned from Christmas break in early January. Cox was re-arrested on the same charges a second time because he had to be indicted by the grand jury.
In a Jan. 4 Lincoln Times-News article, Ledford commented on the arrest of Cox one day earlier.
“The school resource officer, Trent Davis, received an anonymous tip,” said Ledford. “That tip was received about a week after the crime took place.”
Cox was originally taken before a magistrate at the Catawba County Detention Center and jailed under a $5,000 secured bond.
“We were able to develop suspects quickly and be able to get most of the property back due to this tip,” said Ledford.
He wouldn’t speculate on if the break-in was students participating in a prank or something more.
The break-in happened at the school’s media center according to a Dec. 9 Lincoln Times-News article.
“The media specialist, Jennifer Harrison, called us after discovering a storage closet in the media center had been broken into,” said Ledford.
According to an incident report on file at the Maiden Police Department, several laptop computers, a digital camera and carrying cases valued at over $7,000 were taken.
Maiden principal Dwayne Finger was cited at that time stating he believed the break-in may have happened between Dec. 3 and Dec. 5.
“The custodians came in that morning after the basketball game the night before and discovered the break-in,” he said in Dec. 9 Lincoln Times-News article.
The equipment that was taken, according to Finger, was something both students and teachers use.
“The laptops were used by teachers for PowerPoint presentations in class,” he said. “The Palm Pilots that students were going to use weren’t even taken out of the boxes yet.”
The three laptops, Finger added, were fairly new.
This is not the first time Cox has been arrested by Maiden Police.
He was arrested Nov. 10 on charges stemming from a shoplifting incident two days earlier at the Handy Stop on East Main Street in Maiden.
A Gatorade and candy bar, valued at less than $4, were taken on Nov. 8, according to an incident report from the Maiden Police Department.
by Jon Mayhew

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