Burgettstown High School vandalism charges dropped

October 25, 2013
Mark Shriver, right, exits court Friday with his attorney, Jack Puskar. - Barbara S. Miller/Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Charges against a local man arising from destruction at Burgettstown High School after the close of the 2011-12 school year were withdrawn Friday in Washington County Court.

Mark William Shriver, 20, of 153 Center Ave., Burgettstown, pleaded guilty to hindering apprehension of another man charged in connection with the same crime by giving false information to police.

The hindering apprehension charge stemmed from Shriver failing to reveal the whereabouts of Ronald Fay Boyer, 21, of Baby Hollow Road, Burgettstown.

On this charge, Allegheny County Visiting Judge Edward Borkowski sentenced Shriver to 24 months’ probation and ordered him to complete 25 hours of community service.

Assistant District Attorney Jerome A. Moschetta told the judge that video surveillance of masked individuals who entered the high school, the sole evidence, was not strong enough to link Shriver to the crime.

Boyer pleaded guilty exactly one year before Shriver appeared in court. Judge Janet Moschetta Bell accepted Boyer’s plea to one felony count of committing burglary in a structure that was not then open to the public and sentenced him to 4 to 23 months in the county jail. On a felony charge of criminal mischief, including reckless tampering with property, she placed him on probation for five years.

The vandalism spree began with the smashing of a cafeteria window with a hatchet in the early morning hours of June 28, 2012, when the office of assistant principal Michael Wright also was entered and his identification badge stolen.

The vandals also allegedly stole class rings that dated to the 1930s that had been on display in the lobby, and also damaged trophies. After a hearing, Boyer led police to an area behind the school where he had buried some of the rings.

The defendants then allegedly returned to the school, damaging classrooms, lighting fixtures and display cases, as well as stealing $50 from an office and soft drinks.

Forty classrooms were entered and there was more than $50,000 in damages done to the school.

A call to Burgettstown Area School District Superintendent Deborah Jackson about the latest court proceeding was not immediately returned.

Police initially charged a 17-year-old Burgettstown boy and 16-year-old Burgettstown boy for the June burglaries at the school. Those charges were dismissed against the 16-year-old, but he was charged in an earlier break-in at the school, said Smith Township police Chief Bernie LaRue. The 17-year-old was adjudicated delinquent in juvenile court on burglary, theft and other charges.

McDonald police in June filed an unrelated charge against Shriver of receiving a stolen bicycle in mid-April. On that charge, Borkowski ordered Shriver to serve 12 months’ concurrent probation and complete an additional 25 hours of community service. The judge said restitution for the bicycle, which was recovered but damaged, is to be determined.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

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