Weak Economy Blamed For Increase In Thefts

September 01, 1991|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Staff writer

SYKESVILLE — The recent rash of thefts and minor crimes merely reflects the season and the slow economy, police here say.

"We were busy the first part of the year, then it got quiet. I guess that was the calm before the storm," Chief Wallace P. Mitchell said.

"We've had a lot happening here lately, but we've been making arrests in the cases," Mitchell said.

A Monday night theft that was interrupted by police was one of nine reported during August.

Additionally, Sykesville's five-member police force has logged one burglary, one armed robbery, two breaking and enterings with theft, one attempted breaking and entering, two assaults and one controlled dangerous substance violation for the month.

Minor crime in the town is upfrom July, when there were six reported thefts and three assaults, and about double that for August 1990. State police say the county hasseen car thefts increase 45 percent and other property theft increase 16 percent in the first half of 1991. Breaking and enterings decreased 11 percent.

Of the 17 August cases, Sykesville police have closed the burglary, the two breaking and enterings, four thefts and oneassault. The rest are under investigation, Mitchell said.

Police do not believe the crimes are related, he said.

On Monday night, Officer Glen W. Ruff observed a theft in progress at a house under construction at Kalorama Road and Norris Avenue.

"He was on patrol, and had checked the area once and it was secured," Mitchell said. "When he rode by again about 2:30 a.m., he observed the door open on the house. When he approached the house, he saw three people inside. Theyran out the back and attempted to flee on foot."

Assisted by State Trooper David A. Hoff, Ruff arrested one suspect after a scuffle. No one was injured, police said.

State police charged Charles Baker, 18, of Grand View Avenue, Sykesville, with battery on a police officer and released him on $500 unsecured bond, said 1st Lt. Kenneth L. Tregoning of the state police in Westminster.

Sykesville police charged Baker with resisting arrest and a second count of battery, as well as breaking and entering and theft, Mitchell said. He was released on $1,500 bond.

Sykesville police later arrested and charged twoSykesville 17-year-olds as juveniles with breaking and entering and theft in connection with the case. They were released into the custody of their parents Tuesday, Mitchell said.

No trial dates have been set.

Police recovered a small quantity of copper wiring from thehouse, Mitchell said.

Pete Bush, site manager for the Shannon Rundevelopment where the house is located, said the damage could have been worse.

"They (the suspects) just took chunks of wire out of the walls," Bush said. "If we didn't know the wire was missing, we would have had a big problem."

Bush said that the house, still in the rough stages, was not locked at the time of the theft.

By comparison, Westminster has had 56 thefts and 12 breaking and enterings during August, said Cpl. Rick May, public information officer. While the number of thefts is the same as last year, breaking and enterings havedoubled over August 1990, he said.

Police say the lagging economymay partially explain the crimes, especially the thefts.

"With depressed economic times, there is an increased amount of crime, centering on theft of property and auto theft," Tregoning said.

"Occasionally you get these spurts, but it's not an indicator the whole year is going that way."

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