The Pretas Skate Shop, 620 Hepburn St., recently was burglarized and vandalized on two occasions by a group of teenagers, who police say allegedly were led by a 36-year-old city man.
With destruction and missing merchandise combined, the group allegedly caused about $6,500 worth of damage to the locally owned business.
Alden C. Murray Jr., of 653 Hepburn St., Apartment 16, has been charged with felony counts of burglary, criminal trespassing and receiving stolen property and two counts for participation in a criminal conspiracy. He also faces misdemeanor charges for theft, receiving stolen property, criminal mischief and tampering with physical evidence.
Marshall Flanagan, shop owner, discovered the burglary on the morning of April 6. According to court records, a large window had been smashed and numerous items were stolen from the shop, including three skateboards valued at $140 each, 15 skateboard decks valued at $52 each, three pairs of sneakers valued at $65 each and a cash register that contained about $300.
Including the damage to the window and loss of inventory, about $5,500 worth of damage was caused, police said.
On April 11, Flanagan discovered that his business again had been burglarized. This time, the alleged thieves had broken a glass door and left the rear door to the business open. They also allegedly wrote obscenities on several walls of the shop, police said.
Numerous shirts, hats, shoes and skateboard-related items were stolen, according to court records. In total, authorities estimate about $1,000 worth of damage was caused during the second burglary, records state.
City police received a break in the case when a witness came forward and told them he saw three males fleeing the skate shop after the business had closed for the day. He allegedly saw the group run inside Murray's apartment, police said.
Authorities made contact with Murray at his home on April 12. There, they discovered two unnamed juvenile boys, ages 15 and 17, according to court records.
According to authorities, numerous skateboards and other items from the skate shop were in plain view in Murray's home.
All three individuals were taken to city police headquarters and questioned. Murray allegedly admitted to authorities that, on April 6, he and two 15-year-olds conspired to break into the skate shop, with the purpose of stealing merchandise.
Murray also allegedly confessed to throwing a brick through the window during the first burglary and stealing the cash register, according to reports.
Murray told police that he, a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old again conspired to break into the business a few days later, authorities said. Murray allegedly admitted that, on April 11, he broke the glass door. Along with the juveniles, Murray allegedly removed several items from the store and took these back to his residence, according to court records.
According to police, numerous items were recovered from Murray's home, as well from as the various bedrooms of the juveniles involved.
Murray was arraigned before District Judge Jerry C. Lepley on April 12 and was incarcerated in lieu of $2,500 bail.