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Police Investigating Arson to School Speed Camera

Fire officials in Washington County are asking for the public's help in finding whoever was involved in a weekend arson in Smithsburg.

SMITHSBURG, Md. - Police and Fire officials in Washington County are asking for the public's help in finding whoever was involved in a weekend arson in Smithsburg. 

Monday was just like any other day in Smithsburg. It was quiet as people went about their business, but on Saturday night it was a different story. The area was filled with emergency vehicles responding to a fire that could have destroyed a speed camera next to the Smithsburg public schools. 

"Corporal John Witmer was patrolling in the area of Whispering Hills," said George Knight, the chief of Smithsburg Police Department. "He was seconds away, arrived and put the fire out. There was minor damage to the tire, one of the tires to the speed trailer."

Police say it happened just before midnight on North Main Street. Chief Knight says even though the fire was put out in a matter of minutes they don't have any information, nor description of the people who might be responsible and they are not giving any reason as to why it occurred.

"I won't speculate as to if they were trying to damage the unit," said Knight. "It is what it is, I think you can draw your own conclusions."

Damages are estimated at $300. The camera itself is still intact and if the speed camera had been destroyed police say the people responsible would likely be facing harsher penalties.

"It would have been stiffer penalties because the amount of dollar value," said Knight.  "Arsons are designated into dollar values, higher than a thousand dollars and lower than a thousand dollars."

It may look like a petty crime, but whoever did this could be looking at up to three years in prison.

The Smithsburg Police Department is offering $500 for information leading to an arrest. You can contact them at (301)-824-3500.


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