MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Berkeley County Clerk Elaine Mauck faces felony charges after allegedly breaking into storage units owned by her predecessor.
The 74-year-old was arraigned Monday in Berkeley County Magistrate Court on one felony charge of breaking and entering and one felony charge of petit larceny. Her bail was set at $7,500.
Long-time clerk John Small, Junior died in February.
West Virginia State Police say they were told about the break-ins April 27. The property manager at the units told police Mauck and two others had cut the locks from the units and loaded items from the units up. A fourth lock had been cut off previously.
State police say Small’s widow Julia was aware payments were behind on the the units on Hedgesville Road but had not had a chance to catch the payments up due to attending to her late husband’s arrangements.
Mrs. Small denied speaking to anyone about the units or what was inside them, but said the clerk’s office had told her the property manager wanted to talk to her. The manager said he had contacted the clerk’s office, which was the contact number for the units. He later told Mrs. Small that Mauck had taken a few boxes of items from inside. He further told Mrs. Small that Mauck had told him the widow had no interest in the items inside and was not going to pay the back rent.
Mauck reportedly initially denied any knowledge of the activities at the storage unit.
County Attorney Anthony Delligatti had requested the items be returned by Mauck.
The trooper Nine obtained three boxes of items that had been taken, which contained old black-and-white family photos with frames, Lions Club hats, small American Flags, old bills and invoices, mail for John W. Small, an old Army-style helmet with Small’s name on it and several books. The value of all the items was estimated to be less than $1,000.
Mauck allegedly confirmed the locks were cut off three units in her presence and a fourth had already been cut off. She told police the items gathered were the ones taken from the units but said she believed Mrs. Small said she had no interest in them.
She declined to comment when the Panhandle News Network reached out to her Tuesday morning.
Mauck is known as a local historian and has in the past sold antiquities and worked with families to settle estates in the Panhandle. She reportedly told the property manager items could be sold from the units to cover the unit rent.
Mauck was appointed to the clerk’s post in January to fill John Small’s unexpired term. He passed away the following month.