Police, fire log



County police are investigating the theft of a locked closet at Mount Hebron High School, where a thief made off with $500 in cash and checks raised by students in the holiday spirit.

About 30 students raised the money during a drive for blankets and food for 60 homeless Howard County families, said Jason Downs, a senior at Mount Hebron and a student government representative.

The money was left Thursday evening in a locked closet and apparently was taken overnight. Police said no signs of forced entry were found on the closet door.

Downs said the fund raising was to provide turkeys and blankets for homeless and needy people. The items were to be given away on Dec. 21. Now students must start from scratch, he said.

"We're still going to try and do it," he said. "We don't want to have to tell these families that we can't give them what we promised."

Police Sgt. Robert Adams said police are investigating but there are no apparent suspects. Downs said he and other students are asking people to donate more money, and the hope is that the give-away will still happen on the 21st.

"I think it can still be done. This is a worthy cause, and I'd love for the community to get involved," Downs said.

The school has organized the food drive in past years, but this year's effort had been the most successful, he said.

People interested in donating money to the drive is asked to call Downs at 750-7730.


A fire that caused an estimated $425,000 in damage destroyed a Columbia home Saturday and damaged another residence, a spokesman for the state Fire Marshal's office said.

Fire officials say the fire, which started in a chimney and quickly spread into several walls, also damaged the side of a neighboring house and garage.

The fire began shortly before 7:40 p.m. in an attic area of a home located in the 10300 block of Six Pence Circle, said spokesman Robert Thomas. Firefighters have ruled the cause of the blaze as accidental.

Thomas said the homeowner, Peter Muncie, discovered the fire and called the fire department before leaving the residence. No other family members were home at the time.

Firefighters estimate the damage to the Muncie residence at about $425,000. Damage to the nearby home, owned by Gregory Decker, is estimated at $50,000.

Both the Muncie and Decker families are staying with relatives due to the damage to their homes.


Three people were seriously injured yesterday in a head-on collision between two cars on Route 108, county police and rescue workers said.

The accident occurred at 1:30 p.m., about 500 feet west of Trotter Road.

One of the cars apparently crossed the center line for an unknown reason, police said.

Police have not yet released the names of the victims, all of whom were taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. All three are females.

Two of the victims are Carroll County residents, ages 22 and 26, and the third is an 18-year-old Columbia resident, police said.

One of the victims was trapped for 25 minutes while rescue workers attempted to extricate her, said Donald R. Howell, a rescue services spokesman. Two of the victims were flown to shock trauma by helicopter, Howell said.

Police Sgt. Robert Adams said two of the victims are listed in serious but stable condition and the third is in critical but stable condition.

Further details were not available and the accident remains under investigation.

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