Troopers make arrests in Lewes BB gun incidents

LEWES – Delaware State Police arrested two 17-year-old boys in connection with a rash of criminal mischief incidents in which vehicles and residences throughout the Lewes/Milton area were damaged by BBs.

Delaware State Police spokesman Master Cpl. Michael Austin said that between Saturday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 8, troopers investigated 19 separate criminal mischief incidents that took place in the developments of Henlopen Landing, Edgewater Estates, Sussex West and Seawood Estates.

The property damaged included both vehicles and residences, with a preliminary damage total in excess of $10,000.00. The only investigative lead obtained from the initial investigations was that a small, black vehicle with tinted windows was involved.

During the course of the investigationt, roopers were able to determine that a shoplifting incident, occurred on Friday, Nov. 30 at the Walmart located at 18922 Rehoboth Mall Blvd., in which a BB gun had been stolen. This incident had gone undetected at the time of the original occurrence therefore it had not been reported. Cpl. Austin said evidence obtained during the subsequent investigation was able to positively identified Steven Huey of Bridgeville as the suspect responsible for the shoplifting.

Through further investigation troopers were able to positively link the Huey teen to the criminal mischief incidents, as well as developing Collin Ritchie of Lewes as a second suspect. Cpl. Austin said it was also determined that the suspect vehicle involved in the incidents belonged to the Ritchie teen. A subsequent search of the Ritchie teen’s vehicle allegedly produced assorted BBs along with a cylinder from a revolver-style BB gun.

On Friday, both the Huey and Ritchie teens were taken in to custody without incident at Troop 7 where they were each charged with 19 counts of criminal mischief and 19 counts of third-degree conspiracy.

Both subjects were arraigned in Sussex County Family Court and then released to their respective guardians pending a future court appearance.

In addition to the incidents that occurred in state police jurisdiction the Huey and Ritchie teens were also positively linked to similar incidents that occurred in the development of Shipbuilders Village, which are being investigated by the Milton Police Department.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding these incidents are asked to call Troop 7 at 302-703-3290.

Information may also be provided by calling Delaware crime stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at http://www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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