West Virginia University names suspects in post-game car-flipping
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Authorities have charged two 18-year-olds with flipping a car in a West Virginia University parking lot during the revelry and fire-setting that followed the Mountaineer football team’s Sept. 28 win over Oklahoma State.
WVU Police said Thursday they’ve arrested Kevin James Wheeler of White Hall, Md., and have issued a warrant for William Schwab of Glencoe, Md. Schwab attends the University of South Carolina.
Chief Bob Roberts said both are charged with felony destruction of property. Conviction carries a possible fine of up to $2,500 or 10 years in prison, or both.
Roberts said the Monongalia County prosecutor’s office is having Schwab extradited.
Neither suspect immediately answered emails sent to their student accounts, and it was unclear whether either of them has an attorney.
Police got more than 40 tips, Roberts said, and investigators spent more than 100 hours identifying the men.
WVU students have a long history of fires and mayhem after big athletic events.
The school and the city of Morgantown have tried for years to crack down, expelling students for bad behavior and invoking state arson laws for fire-starters rather than charging offenders with misdemeanors.
Last fall, police began using Facebook, Twitter and other social media to identify suspects.
More than 40 fires were deliberately set after WVU’s 48-45 victory over Texas last season, and students threw rocks, beer bottles and other objects at police in riot gear. Crowds were dispersed with pepper spray and a chemical gas.
In 2003, more than 100 fires were set after a midweek victory over Virginia Tech in Morgantown.