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2 accused in burglary, car theft at official’s home

By Staff | Mar 6, 2009


Two Charles Town men are facing felony charges for allegedly burglarizing Shepherdstown Mayor Arthur “Jim” Auxer III’s 108 E. New St. home and stealing his car.

Acting Shepherdstown Police Chief Tim Johnson and Patrolman J.F. Cummings last week arrested Robert Benjamin Hatcher, 20, of 517 S. Mildred St. and David L. Smith Jr., 19, of 119 Sunlite Dr. for allegedly breaking into the home at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 13. No one was home during the incident.

A preliminary hearing on the matter was slated for 11 a.m. Thursday in Jefferson County Magistrate Court in Charles Town.

Hatcher, who remains in Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg on a $50,000 bond, faces felony counts of burglary and grand larceny and may face additional conspiracy charges.

Smith was not in ERJ Thursday, according to a jail official. He faces charges of accessory, before-the-fact to commit burglary and grand larceny and conspiracy to commit burglary and grand larceny.

According to Cummings’ criminal complaints filed in Magistrate Court, the glass back door to the home was shattered, and a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey, a bottle of vodka, $37 and the keys to Auxer’s 2006 Mini Cooper were stolen. About two hours later, the burglar or burglars allegedly returned to the home to steal the car, which Hatcher ultimately drove to Morgantown where he remained at large for several days, according to court documents.

When Auxer and his family had returned home on Feb. 14, they discovered the break-in and reported it to the Police Department. Auxer did not discuss details of the matter with the Chronicle this week. “I don’t have any comment until this is over,” Auxer said.

Cummings’ report says Smith contacted the Auxer family the day after the incident and reported that Hatcher was the burglar and that he had taken the car to Morgantown. Smith also gave a statement to Cummings that Hatcher had contacted Smith about the burglary only after the incident, court records show.

Smith also reported to Cummings that Hatcher had been planning to steal the car for at least a week to drive it to Morgantown and see his girlfriend, according to court records. Initially, Smith was charged with “accessory, before-the-fact” larceny and burglary. But he later confessed during an interview with Johnson his involvement with the crime, Johnson said this week. He then was arrested again on charges of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit grand larceny.

Hatcher’s family cooperated with Shepherdstown Police and drove him back to town where Hatcher was arrested Feb. 25 by Shepherdstown police with assistance from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Johnson said.

The Mini Cooper had been left at a GoMart gas station near Morgantown and was later towed and impounded by police, Johnson said. The car has since been returned.

If found guilty of the charges against them, Smith and Hatcher could face fines and additional jail time.