Bored teens break into high school because there's 'nothing to do in this town,' police say

Owen Shearman and Christopher Fetterman (Photo: Somerset County Jail)

While TV shows and movies like to present a picturesque view of small-town life (for example, sock hops, neighbors helping one another, the whole town turning out for a football game), the reality is far more boring. Anyone who has grown up in such an area will tell you that much of their youth was spent driving around looking for something to do, or decamping to a cow pasture with booze you nicked out of a parent’s cupboard.

For two teens in Pennsylvania, their boredom allegedly turned into burglary, criminal mischief, and theft charges. 

Windber, Pa., started as a company town for the nearby coal mines and its population has dropped by half since the 1940s. There is a drive-in movie theater not far away, but for those without wheels, it takes an hour to walk there from Windber High School — not that anyone would walk to a drive-in.

Owen Shearman and Christopher Fetterman, both 19, spent an August night allegedly breaking into the Windber High School, stealing equipment, and spraying a fire extinguisher in the building. According to police, Shearman said it was because “there was nothing to do in this town.”

Local station WJAC reports that police security footage showed a person, later identified as Shearman, walking to the side of the school carrying a propane tank, which he used to push open a door and then threw through a window. The footage then showed Shearman leaving the school and returning a short while later with Fetterman, according to police.

Police said they were able to identify Shearman in the video because he had worn the same clothes in a previous arrest.

The two men are accused of stealing nine Google Chromebook laptops, as well as chemistry beakers and scales from a computer lab. Police said they recovered the items after Shearman told them where he had put them.

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