SOLVE CRIME OF WEEK
FREDERICK - Crime Solvers, a volunteer group that assists area police, is asking residents to help solve the Crime of the Week.
This week, the group is targeting the disappearance of Sidney James Catuchi, who is wanted by state police and the Carroll Sheriff's Department on bench warrants for driving while intoxicated, theft and trespassing.
State police describe him as a white male, 5 feet 11 inches tall and 155 pounds. He has brown hair and was born on Sept. 3, 1962.
Catuchi's last known addresses were in Alexandria, Va., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Police say he is also known as Jesse Alverez, James Blair and Curtis Gruenich.
If you have any information about Catuchi, or believe you may know where he is living or working, please call Crime Solvers at (800) 562-TIPS.
You do not need to give your name, and if your information leads to an arrest, you could earn up to a $1,000 reward.
MURDER CHARGE DROPPED
FREDERICK -- A murder charge against a Mount Airy woman accused of suffocating her 4-year-old daughter was dropped Friday, just before the woman's trial was set to begin in Frederick County Circuit Court.
Aileen Finerty Summers, 26, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the August 1989 death of her daughter, Rachel Aileen Summers.
The dismissal of the murder charge still leaves three felony charges of manslaughter, child abuse and battery.
Summers' trial on those charges is expected to continue through this week.
Frederick State's Attorney Lawrence A. Dorsey Jr. and Assistant State's Attorney Stephen Meyers -- prosecutors in the case -- could not be reached for comment on the dismissal of the murder charge.
Police say Summers suffocated her daughter shortly before 11 p.m. on the night of Aug. 28, 1989.
The case is being heard by Frederick Circuit Judge Mary Ann Stepler. The defense and the prosecution are expected to call about 50 witnesses during the week.
PREVENT HOLIDAY CRIME
WESTMINSTER -- State police this week announced the beginning of a special patrol designed to protect holiday shoppers and storekeepers.
First Sgt. Stephen Reynolds said Monday that the Westminster barracks' six crime-prevention officers will be taking to the streets during peak shopping hours until Christmas Day.
"In addition to helping prevent shoppers from becoming crime victims, the officers will be making the rounds of area merchants and giving them on-the-spot advice and suggestions on how to make their businesses safer," Reynolds said.
Reynolds said the patrols, which began over the weekend, will be targeting the county's major shopping areas.
ACCIDENT TIES UP ROAD
WESTMINSTER -- An early-morning accident Tuesday snarled traffic on Route 140 for about an hour and sent two county women to the hospital.
State police in Westminster said the accident occurred at 7:22 a.m. on Route 140 near Old Gamber Road.
Police said Stacey L. Pontuti, 20, of the 600 block East Court Street in Westminster, pulled out of the Exxon gasoline station in her 1980 Mercury Bobcat, She attempted to cross Route 140 and went into the path of a 1984 Buick traveling eastbound on Route 140.
The driver of the Buick was 50-year-old Mary J. Root, of the 2700 block Sykesville Road in Smallwood.
Police said both cars were destroyed in the crash, and both drivers were taken to Carroll County General Hospital by Reese Fire Company ambulance.
Root and Pontuti were treated at the hospital and released. Pontuti was charged with failure to yield the right of way, police said CITY SEAT BELT USE UP
WESTMINSTER -- City police said Tuesday that seat belt use among motorists is up 8 percent over last year.
During the month of November, two seat belt observations were conducted at four city intersections, police said.
Of the 4,500 cars observed, 70 percent of the drivers and passengers were wearing seat belts, police reported.
Similar statistics for November 1989 showed that 62 percent of motorists complied with the state seat belt law.
According to this year's report, 62 percent of male drivers and 77 percent of female drivers wore the belts.
Forty percent of truck drivers observed complied with the law, police said.
During the observation stops, city police made 21 drunken-driving arrests, wrote 140 citations for speeding and 51 warnings for speeding.
Thirty-six citations were issued to adults who did not wear seat belts, and 19 were given warnings for the offense, police said.
POLICE SEEK SUSPECT
WESTMINSTER -- State police in Westminster are seeking a suspect who broke into the Leisure Health Spa in the 400 block of Manchester Road and stole $350 in cash and clothing.
Police believe the break-in occurred between the late evening of Nov. 24 or the early morning of Nov. 25.
During the break-in, the spa's offices were ransacked, police said.
In addition to the cash, several jackets and other clothing bearing the logo of the club also were taken.