'Bridal kidnapper' gets jail term

October 11, 1991

An article in The Sun last Friday about the sentencing of Victor Herbert Gardner Sr. in Baltimore County Circuit Court for telephone misuse in connection with threatening and obscene telephone calls incorrectly referred to him as Victor Herbert Gardner Jr.

A Baltimore longshoreman who made threatening and obscene telephone calls to thousands of women in the past 23 years received an 18-month sentence yesterday on his guilty pleas to five telephone-misuse charges.

Victor Herbert Gardner Jr., 46, of the 1100 block of Hull Street, trembled as he told the judge, "I'd like to stay in counseling."


Baltimore County Circuit Judge William R. Buchanan Sr. agreed to recommend work release for Gardner, who was sexually and physically abused as a child by his alcoholic father, and ordered that he continue with medicine and therapy for his sexual disorder. If he does not, the judge told Gardner, he will serve the maximum of 15 years, three years for each of five counts.

Assistant State's Attorney Peter W. Johnson said that the prosecution "is not unsympathetic" but asked for some jail time, noting that Gardner terrorized as many as 3,000 women before Baltimore County police detectives traced calls and began surveillance of pay telephones near the Locust Point Marine Terminal, where he worked.

Police arrested Gardner in January and charged him with being the "bridal kidnapper" -- a nickname that stemmed from his use of newspaper wedding announcements. Gardner would call families listed in the announcements and tell them he was holding the newlywed or one of her bridesmaids hostage and would harm her unless the woman he called talked dirty to him.

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