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Accused meth maker faces theft charges

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Philip E. Chadwell

By Sally Voth - svoth@nvdaily.com

The Strasburg man accused of running a meth lab and bomb factory out of his King Street house was charged with three more crimes on Thursday.

Winchester police Sgt. Frank Myrtle said his department served warrants Thursday afternoon against Philip Eugene Chadwell, 22, of 710 E. King St., for burglary, grand larceny and felony destruction of property.

Chadwell is accused of breaking into Domino's Pizza, 724 Berryville Ave., Winchester, overnight on Monday or Tuesday, Myrtle said. He said it was discovered Tuesday morning that someone had broken into the pizza shop, and some electrical and other equipment had been stolen or damaged, and an undisclosed amount of money taken.

Chadwell was developed as a suspect, and a Winchester police investigator accompanied a Strasburg officer to his house, Myrtle said. There, they spotted what appeared to be ingredients for making the highly addictive stimulant, methamphetamine.

The two officers immediately alerted the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force.

Undercover task force and Drug Enforcement Administration investigators, along with Strasburg police officers, spent most of Wednesday afternoon in and around the two-story white house. An ambulance was parked across the street for some time.

While inside, investigators found evidence that Chadwell had been making bombs, as well as attempting to make meth, in his room, Strasburg Police Chief Tim Sutherly said Wednesday. That led to the state police bomb unit being called in.

"There was only trace evidence of that at the scene," Sutherly said. "He admitted to making homemade bombs and exploding them. He was making some serious stuff. There's no indication that he had malicious intent. He was just curious to see if he could do it."

The chief said Chadwell also admitted to trying to make meth, but said he hadn't succeeded in producing the drug. He was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine.

The East King Street home was cordoned off with yellow police tape for several hours, and various chemicals, including boric acid, drain cleaner, and acetone were placed on a tarp in the backyard.

Two men who work for a Roanoke hazardous materials disposal contractor could be seen placing the items into barrels and sealing the containers. They wore protective gloves, coverings and booties.

Chadwell remains in the Shenandoah County Jail on a $10,000 secured bond for the Winchester charges and $10,000 secured bond for the Strasburg charge, Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy C. Carter said.

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