Sheriff’s Office Probing Vehicle Tampering At High School Parking Lot

BERLIN — The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office this week is investigating at least two cases of vehicle vandalism at Stephen Decatur High School involving loosened lug nuts including one incident in which a wheel came off while the vehicle was in motion.

Lieutenant Ed Schreier of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday confirmed the Sheriff’s Office was investigating at least two incidents involving loosened lug nuts at the Berlin high school and possibly a third. Schreier said in one incident, a student was driving and noticed the vehicle was wobbling. When the student stopped to determine what was causing the wobbling, the student noticed the vehicle’s lug nuts had been loosened.

In a second incident, a Decatur student was driving and a wheel came off as the student was making a turn. In that incident, the student determined the lugs nuts had been removed, allowing the wheel to come off while the vehicle was in motion. Schreier said considerable damage was caused to the vehicle in the second incident.

There have also been reports of sugar being put in the gas tanks of some student vehicles, but Schreier said those reports had not be validated. The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incidents in conjunction with school officials.

“The school resource officer is trying to determine if the incidents happened on school property, or if they occurred somewhere else,” he said. “We’re doing our own investigation and waiting on the school resource officer’s determination about where the incidents occurred and who might be involved. At this point, we don’t have too much more to go on but we’re continuing to investigate.”

Carrie Sterrs, coordinator of public relations and special programs for the school system, confirmed that there were cameras in use in the school’s parking lot during the time of the incidents.

“We have made that footage available for law enforcement,” she said.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

Alternative Text

Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.