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Library, school hit in crime spree
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Pembroke Police are still trying to figure out who was responsible for a rash of criminal activity overnight Tuesday.

In three separate incidents, the Bryan County High School gym concession area was vandalized and set on fire, the Pembroke Library was broken into, and three were seen on surveillance video trying to break into the Southern Sportsman in Pembroke, authorities said Wednesday.

There was also an alleged shoplifting from Clyde’s Market, the same night.

Three males were held and questioned as suspects in the sports store and market incidents, but Pembroke Police and the GBI, who were called in on the investigation, later determined the three guys they had were not the culprits, Interim Police Chief Stacy Strickland said Thursday.

He said the guys in the video from Clyde’s and the Southern Sportsman were larger and bulkier than the three they questioned, and the questioning made it clear they had no part in the chaos.

"We’re back to ground zero," he said. "But, don’t think we’re giving up, by any means."

Kaye Salter, an employee of Southern Sportsman, said the video showed three males try to throw a water meter lid through the front door, but, because of bulletproof glass, the lid bounced back at their feet.

"They were about to throw it again, but the alarm went off, then they ran off toward Clyde’s. They never got in," she said.

Salter said video showed it happened around 2:45 a.m.

Around 4 a.m. Pembroke Fire department responded to the High School gym and put out a fire that was set in the concession area, according to Fire Chief Jimmy Cook.

"They broke in both back doors through the glass," he said. "The damage was extensive, but was contained primarily to the concession area. The gym itself is mostly unharmed other than some smoke damage."

He said the fire had used most of its oxygen when they arrived, and they had the fire out in a matter of minutes.

"It’s a good thing the ceiling isn’t wood," he said, "or it would have been a lot worse."

The state fire marshal’s office was called in to help with the arson investigation.

The break-in at the library left some blood on the broken window, according to Strickland, and GBI is helping with the investigation.

The only damage to the library was the window and $20 worth of change from a couple of jars taken, according to Strickland.

"I don’t understand why these people want to destroy things that help others," he said. "It makes no sense."

Anyone with information regarding any of the incidents is encouraged to call Pembroke police at 653-4414 or the GBI at (912) 871-1121.

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