Meth lab found in bedroom closet

A Barbour County man has been charged with operating a methamphetamine lab at a Belington home.

Adam Seth Keplinger, 32, of 116 Highland Ave., Belington, was arrested Sunday after police received a tip that day from a neighbor claiming she saw someone climb through the window of a Belington house.

Keplinger will face one felony charge of operating a clandestine lab. He is being held at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail in lieu of a $25,000 cash bond

According to the complaint in the Barbour County Magistrate Court, a neighbor in the area called and told law enforcement that she saw someone place a black bag on the porch of a nearby home and enter through the front window. Officers responded to the house on 117 Third St. and discovered footprints in the snow leading from the front porch to the window.

Belington police officer Josh Hymes said Monday that the residence was home to a friend of Keplinger’s who had permitted him to enter.

According to the complaint, Hymes first knocked on the door of the house. After he didn’t receive an answer, Hymes reportedly contacted the landlord of the property, who then traveled to the scene. Hymes and the landlord entered the home and found Keplinger inside.

The criminal complaint also stated that Hymes and Junior Police Chief Jody Haller investigated the residence together and located an active meth lab, along with a black bag, in the bedroom closet. The bag reportedly had Keplinger’s name on it. An instructional book detailing how to make meth was found inside, the complaint stated.

Sgt. J.A.Wyatt of the West Virginia State Police arrived on scene and called in Trooper 1st Class D. R. Woodford of the Elkins detachment. Woodford is a meth lab technician, who confirmed that it was an active meth lab, according to the complaint.

Hymes said the Belington Police Department was assisted by the Junior Police Department, the Barbour County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police.

  • In an unrelated case, Patrolman S. Gillis of the Philippi Police Department arrested James Richard Cutright, 25, of Route 1, Box 292, Philippi, on Jan. 26. Cutright is being held at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail in lieu of a $5,000 surety bond for the felony offense of malicious wounding. He waived his preliminary hearing on Jan. 31.

Cutright allegedly cut Kenneth P. Nicholson Jr. with a knife at 501 Maple Ave. in Philippi. According to the criminal complaint, a neighbor called the Barbour County Communications Center to report “drama.” A representative from the center then called Gillis, who responded to the scene where he reportedly saw multiple individuals in the yard of the residence and on Fourth Street nearby.

Gillis spoke with Nicholson, who told him that Cutright had cut him with a knife. Gillis also noticed an incision on the underside of Nicholson’s right forearm, according to the complaint.

Nicholson turned down an offer from Gillis to call the Barbour County Emergency Medical Squad, explaining that another individual would transport him in a private vehicle to Broaddus Hospital for treatment, the complaint stated.

According to the complaint, Gillis then contacted Cutright, who allegedly responded with “Me and Kenny got into a fight” when asked what happened, according to the complaint. Cutright denied having a knife when Gillis asked if he had attacked Nicholson with one, the complaint stated.

Following a conversation with another person at the scene, Cutright reportedly later asked to speak with Gillis in a private room where he admitted to cutting Nicholson because he “snapped,” according to the complaint. Cutright described the weapon, but said he didn’t know where it was. Cutright was then arrested and transported to Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

Nicholson reportedly later found the knife under the kitchen counter. Gillis noted in the complaint that the knife fit the description Cutright gave him.

  • In other police matters, Olen L. Vandevender, Jr., 40, P.O. Box 274, Beverly, was arrested Jan. 29 for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender.

Cpl. S. P. Miller of the West Virginia State Police received information in November that suggested Vandevender was registered in Belington, but was not living there, according to the criminal complaint. Vandeveder had registered that he was living at 115 Dayton Boulevard in Belington.

Miller obtained a recorded statement from Linda Arbaugh of Harman, confirming that Vandeveder had been residing with her since he was released from jail on Oct. 1, according to the complaint.

Miller also obtained recorded statements from Linda Arbaugh’s children Rebecca Arbaugh, Mark Bennett and James Harper all of whom stated that they knew Vandeveder was living with their mother for two or more months, according to the complaint.