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Posted at 10:50 AM ET, 04/16/2010

2 charged with arson at Gaitherburg High

By Washington Post editors

Two Gaithersburg High students have been arrested and charged with felony arson in connection with a fire that destroyed the school's baseball press box and rendered its field unplayable last week.

Charges are pending against a third Gaithersburg student, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue assistant chief Scott Graham.

Zach Maurer, an 18-year-old senior and four-year starter on the school's lacrosse team, was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree arson, first-degree malicious burning, disturbing a school operation, two counts of school trespassing and/or property damage, conspiracy to commit second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit first-degree malicious burning.

If convicted of all crimes, Maurer would face a maximum penalty of 51 1/2 years in prison and/or $74,500 in fines.

At a hearing Thursday, Maurer was released after posting $10,000 bond with the stipulation that he adhere to a curfew and not return to the school without permission from school administrators.

"We're really not very far along so I haven't seen much," said Maurer's attorney, Ed Tydings. "I've seen the police report. It all came pretty fast."

The other defendant and other suspect are 16-year-old juniors at Gaithersburg. The one who was charged also is a starter on the lacrosse team; at a hearing Wednesday, facing the same charges as Maurer, he was committed to a juvenile facility until his trial next month. The other suspect is a member of the Trojans' soccer team. Maurer and the charged 16-year-old have been suspended from school for 10 days and the county has started expulsion proceedings. The Washington Post generally does not identify juveniles charged with crimes.

The two-story press box burned down April 6, causing an estimated $10,000 in damage to the structure and another $10,000 in lost property. The team played two games at a municipal park until repairs were made.

"I think it's a very unfortunate situation; hopefully they will learn a lesson from this," Gaithersburg baseball coach Jeff Rabberman said. "I'm glad we found out who it was. It was very upsetting that somebody would do that to their own school."

-- Josh Barr

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By Washington Post editors  | April 16, 2010; 10:50 AM ET
Tags:  Gaithersburg High School, Gaithersburg Maryland, Maryland, Montgomery  
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Just where is Gaitherburg? Must be near Bladenburg.

Posted by: not4n | April 16, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey Magellan... it is not even in PG County.... it is in the middle of Montgomery County (Lacrosse should have given it away :) ). This suburban city is a melting pot of nationalities but I would say that Old Towne (where the school is located) is majority Spanish and Black. majority of white's and asian can be found on the outskirts of (Quince Orchard, Wotton area) town. Just stating the facts.

Posted by: rvanags | April 16, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Gaithersburg is a friendly place. :) Too bad these guys decided to do this.

Posted by: celestun100 | April 16, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

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