Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke managed to perform his ceremonial duties and help catch a car theft suspect at a neighborhood sign-dedication ceremony in East Baltimore yesterday.
The mayor did his double duty shortly after noon as he and an entourage of City Council members, police officials and members of the Berea Community Association walked down North Luzerne Avenue. They had just dedicated a sign the association had placed at Federal Street and Edison Highway.
As they walked, a teen-age girl at the wheel of a stolen 1985 Buick with one passenger drove south on North Luzerne, said police Sgt. Michael Harding. The girl spotted the crowd about a half-block away and stopped the car in the 1300 block of North Luzerne. She and her female passenger ran away.
Mr. Schmoke, who had seen the youngsters running, told PolicMaj. Alvin Winkler, commander of the Eastern District police station. Major Winkler was walking with the group that included City Council President Mary Pat Clarke and council members Jacqueline McLean and Carl Stokes.
"The mayor thought it was kind of funny that the person ran away from the car like that," Sergeant Harding said.
Mr. Winkler examined the car and saw that a back window was broken and the ignition was missing, Sergeant Harding said. He called for police.
Meanwhile, neighborhood residents told Mr. Winkler that the teen-age driver had headed toward a house in the same block.
Police entered the house, arrested a 14-year-old girl and charged her with car theft, Sergeant Harding said. He said she was released to the custody of her parents.
No charges were filed against the passenger.
The car had been reported stolen from East Hoffman Street Friday night.