CRIME RATE DROPPING
WESTMINSTER - Carroll's crime rate for the first nine months of 1990 dropped 13 percent, state police report.
The decrease in violent and non-violent crimes locally was in sharp contrast to statewide statistics, which showed a 6 percent increase in all crimes and an 11 percent increase in violent crimes.
First Sgt. Stephen Reynolds said that while he regards the decrease in crime as good news for the state police, he thinks Carroll residents deserve a lot of the credit.
"When you consider that in Frederick County -- an adjoining county to Carroll with a similar population -- had a 14 percent increase in crime, that leads you to believe the community programs in place here must be effective," said Reynolds.
The report, released by the Maryland Uniform Crime Reporting Program, showed the largest decreases in Carroll were in aggravated assaults, which dropped by 33 percent, and in robberies, which were reduced by 25 percent.
Carroll's crime rate reduction was the third-largest in the state, according to the report. Calvert County had an 18 percent drop and Dorchester saw a reduction of 19 percent.
According to the Uniform Crime Report for 1989, Carroll crime that year was up 6 percent over 1988.
FIRE RULED ACCIDENTAL
WOODBINE -- State fire officials said Friday that a fire in the 7700 block of Woodbine Road, which caused $60,000 damage to an auto shop, was caused by an electrical failure in the power supply leading to the business.
Deputy State Fire Marshal Bob Thomas said the two-alarm blaze in the shop, owned by Sam Ladden of Silver Spring, was accidental.
Fire companies from Winfield, Sykesville, Mount Airy, New Windsor, Gamber, Westminster and Reese responded to the fire, which began at 10:17 a.m. Tuesday.
The Carroll fire companies were assisted by Lisbon and West Friendship of Howard County and Damascus of Montgomery County.
It took about 60 firefighters about one hour to bring the blaze under control, said Thomas.
Thomas said the 1 -story, wood frame building was used as an auto repair business with a storage area on the upper level.
Westminster firefighter Charles Freyman was taken to Carroll County General Hospital after the blaze, where he was treated for heat exhaustion and released.
The fire closed Woodbine Road for two hours.
POLICE SEEKING SUSPECT
State police in Westminster are searching for a suspect in the kidnapping and rape of a woman near Codorus State Park in Hanover, Pa.
Police said the suspect kidnapped the woman in Manchester around midnight Nov. 11 and drove her to the park, where he sexually assaulted her.
The suspect is a white male in his late 30s, about 6 feet tall and 180 pounds, the police report said.
He has long brown hair tied in a ponytail and a short beard, the victim told police.
The suspect also had a half-inch tattoo of a star on his left cheek and a scar across his chest, police said.
Police said that at the time of the attack, the suspect was driving a dark-colored, two-door compact car with push-button controls. The car had a red interior and a cassette player with an equalizer mounted under the -- board.
The suspect appeared to be familiar with Carroll County and Hanover County, Pa., and police believe he may reside in those areas.
Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect is asked to call Tfc. Robert Lipsky at the Westminster barracks at 876-2101.
DAY-CARE CRACKDOWN ON
WESTMINSTER -- Officials at the Carroll State's Attorney's Office are continuing their crackdown on unregistered county day-care homes.
Representatives of the county Office of Child Care Licensing, along with State's Attorney's office investigator Bill Dugan, are making surprise visits on homes they suspect are unregistered.
Dugan said eight unregistered day-care homes were closed down in the first two weeks of November.
He said the operators of the majority of the homes shut down since the crackdown began several months ago have complied with the day-care regulations.
When the homes are shut down, Dugan said, their owners are given a warning and are urged to register.
"Some honestly don't realize they have to be licensed, so when you warn them, they will comply," said Dugan.
Dugan said only one day-care operator, Janet Fritz of Manchester, has been prosecuted so far. She received a $1,000 fine.
He said the fine for operating an illegal day-care center is $500 for each time the law is broken after the warning.
County officials estimate that up to 2,000 children may be in unregistered day care.
FIRE HITS MOBILE HOME
DETOUR -- A mobile home fire early Thursday morning displaced a 60-year-old Middleburg Road resident, fire officials said.
Ray Herbert Fanning was not at home when the 12:31 a.m. blaze broke out, Deputy State Fire Marshal Bob Thomas said.
Thomas said the fire was caused by an electrical extension cord in a bedroom.
The blaze, which caused about $25,000 in damage, was brought under control by 45 firefighters in about 20 minutes.
MAN SENTENCED FOR CRACK