Scary run-ins at Exeter site with ghostly reputation (2009)
EXETER, R.I. — Teenagers visiting the abandoned state school that’s said to be haunted were the victims of scary real-life encounters — robberies, according to the Rhode Island State Police.
The state police arrested five men, ages 18 to 25, Wednesday for allegedly using axes, clubs and BB guns to rob teenagers hanging out at night on the sprawling grounds of the abandoned Ladd School, which treated people with developmental disabilities.
Rhode Island State Police Capt. David Neill said the grounds around the Ladd School are a popular spot among teenagers. He said that the Ladd School is said to be haunted and sometimes teenagers will go there with cameras, but they also go there because it’s wooded and secluded.
None of the teenagers, who ranged from 17 to 20, were injured. They told police they were lured to the hospital building of the Ladd School after reading internet postings that say the building is haunted.
According to Neill, the five young men charged with the crimes were students at the Exeter Job Corps Academy at 162 Main St., a job-training program funded by the Department of Labor located on the Ladd School grounds.
The state police allege that they robbed a total of 12 teens of money, cell phones and credit cards on Feb. 28, March 27, and April 17. The State Police said that three of the young men have associations with organized gangs.
The following were arraigned on three counts of first degree robbery and three counts of conspiracy: Kou Xiong, 21, and Benjamin Xiong, 19, who are brothers from Warwick; Sidney Chay, 19, of Providence; and Anthony Deloge, 18, of Warwick.
Jonathan Wilson, 25, of Charlestown, was arraigned on two counts of first degree robbery and two counts of conspiracy.
Joseph DiPina, center director for the Exeter Job Corps Academy, said the young men accused of the robberies have been expelled from training program. One of them was nearly finished and was getting ready to for job prospects while two others had finished vocational courses and were working on academics. Two others were more recent arrivals, he said.
“It’s like losing five of my kids. Our entire community is reeling. We just had Electric Boat touring here to hire kids. We have kids everywhere doing Earth Day community service projects. I’m afraid this is going to be lost because of this. This is the stuff that draws the attention nobody care about the good stuff,” DiPina said.
There are 122 Job Corps centers across the country. They teach students vocational skill training. At Exeter, that includes business, culinary arts, construction, manufacturing and information technologies.
Filed under: Exeter Job Corps, Job Corps, Job Corps Centers, Exeter Job Corps Center, Joseph DiPena, Ladd School