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Teen pleads guilty in Fieldale post office case

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Henry County teenager pled guilty on Monday to breaking into the U.S. Postal Service office on Marshall Way in Fieldale and causing almost $20,000 in damages, according to a news release from a federal court.

Matthew Fitzgerald, 18, of Bassett, entered his plea in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Danville to one count of willfully committing a depredation (damage) against United States property, specifically the post office, the release from the court showed.

“Mr. Fitzgerald caused major damage to the Fieldale Post Office and for that he has been justly held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy. “My hope is that restitution will be ordered in this case to cover the cost of the defendant’s destructive behavior.”

Fitzgerald admitted that on April 18, he broke into the Fieldale Post Office and damaged the property by breaking windows and glass, discharging a fire extinguisher, damaging computers, throwing more than 1,000 keys on the floor and breaking fluorescent light tubes, according to court officials.

Total damages were determined to be $19,309, the release from the court showed.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Henry County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. According to a sheriff’s office report, investigators determined that entry was gained through a side window in the building.

When he is sentenced, Fitzgerald faces a maximum possible penalty of up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000, court officials said. They did not say when he is scheduled to be sentenced.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlene R. Day is prosecuting the case on behalf of the federal government, the court release said.


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