Originally created 01/06/01

Teens face vandalism charges



AIKEN - Aiken County authorities arrested four teen-agers Thursday in connection with a spate of break-ins, thefts and vandalism, including a spree at Jefferson Elementary School discovered that morning.

William Kenneth Goggans, 17, of Gloverville faces 15 charges stemming from property crimes at Jefferson Elementary, at Langley-Bath-Clearwater Middle School on New Year's Day, at the Bath Post Office last week, and at the Clearwater Merchandise Mart and a house in Bath, both in December.

Mr. Goggans is in the Aiken County Detention Center, charged with five counts of second-degree burglary, five counts of larceny, three counts of malicious injury to real property and two counts of malicious injury to personal property, according to Lt. Michael Frank of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.

A 16-year-old from Burnettown, suspected of participating in the crimes at the schools and the post office, faces nine similar charges. Lt. Frank said authorities will ask a family court judge to let the juvenile be tried as an adult. Because of his age, the youth's name will not be released unless he is charged as an adult.

He is incarcerated at the state Department of Youth Services in Columbia along with two 15-year-olds from Bath and North Augusta. One is accused of participating in all the crimes, and the other is accused of helping to trash Jefferson Elementary School.

Because of "very good cooperation by the Burnettown Police Department," the four were in custody within hours after vandalism delayed classes at Jefferson Elementary School, Lt. Frank said. Damage included broken windows, emptied fire extinguishers, paint spatters and overturned furniture.

Items taken in most of the break-ins have been recovered, the sheriff's spokesman said. They range from pencil sharpeners and other small items taken from teachers' desks to swords taken from the Merchandise Mart and several Dr. Seuss books that were in packages stolen from the Bath Post Office. The books were found under a bridge in Bath, Lt. Frank said.

Reach Margaret N. O'Shea at (803) 279-6895.