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Topping man faces gun and moonshine charges

Updated: 01/04/2013 This article indicates that police found a bomb while searching a suspect’s business, The Chop Shop, on December 21. This week, Middlesex Sheriff David Bushey clarified that during the search police found something that “appeared” to be an explosive device near black powder. The suspect, Will Rogers, has not been charged in connection with the device, but is facing other felony charges

Police found a moonshine still at the Chop Shop on Route 33 at Harmony Village while executing a search warrant on December 21. State Police used a special vehicle to pull open the locked front door, which had bars on it.

by Tom Chillemi

A Topping man is charged with gun felonies following an altercation that resulted in gunfire, reported Middlesex Sheriff David Bushey.

According to Sheriff Bushey, William “Will” Henry Rogers, 34, of Topping was arrested near Hummel Field on December 21. At the same time, a search warrant was being executed at Rogers’ motorcycle business, the Chop Shop, located on Route 33 at Harmony Village.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim, who is a long-time acquaintance of Rogers, got into an altercation on December 15 at the shop. The victim alleges that Rogers fired a gun at his vehicle.

According to Middlesex General District Court records Rogers, is charged with attempting to “maim, disfigure, or kill”; displaying a firearm during the commission of a felony; and shooting at a car.

According to Sheriff Bushey, a search warrant was executed at Rogers’ motorcycle shop about 4 p.m. on December 21. Police were looking for evidence relating to the alleged felony of December 15.

Meanwhile, a second team of police arrested Rogers during a traffic stop near his home, which is near Hummel Field in Topping.

Police attempted to enter Rogers’ cinderblock Chop Shop through doors, but were unsuccessful. A Virginia State Police tactical team gained entry by using a vehicle to pull open the front door, which had security bars on it.

During the search, police found what appeared to be a pipe bomb surrounded by black gun powder. Police immediately vacated the building and secured the area. The 5th Division State Police Bomb Squad was called to the scene. Bomb technicians used a robot to disarm the device inside the building. Traffic was stopped on Route 33 during the controlled detonation. No one was injured.

Standing by were firefighters from the Hartfield Volunteer Fire Department and members of the Middlesex County Volunteer Rescue Squad.

During the subsequent search, police found a moonshine still for making alcohol and “mash,” the combined ingredients used to make alcohol. A Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agent was called to the scene.

In addition to the three felony gun charges, Rogers is facing felony charges for the illegal manufacture of alcohol, and an alcohol violation while armed. 

Rogers is also charged with a misdemeanor possession of distilling equipment without a permit, and a misdemeanor for driving on a revoked or suspended permit.

Rogers is being held without bond and is scheduled for a court hearing on Monday, January 7, at 8:30 a.m. for appointment of an attorney.

posted 01.02.2013

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