County police are investigating five weekend robberies, including one Saturday in which a woman was kidnapped as she was getting out of her car at the Odenton Shopping Center on Annapolis Road.
Investigators said the woman was abducted about 10:30 p.m. in the parking lot.A man forced her back into the car, then made her drive around for about two hours. After he got out of the car back at the shopping center, she drove home and called police.
Earlier in the day, a 24-year-old Glen Burnie woman was robbed about 12:30 a.m. when she stopped on Nursery Road in Linthicum to use apay phone. She answered the robber's demands for jewelry by handing over a watch and bracelet. But when he ripped a necklace off her neck, she pulled out a can of Mace and sprayed him in the face.
The man punched her, knocking her to the ground, and ran off, police said.
Two more robberies were reported to county police Sunday.
About9:15 p.m., a robber walked into Boardwalk Fries in Marley Station Mall and hit the clerk over the head. When the 20-year-old clerk revived, he found that money from the safe was missing, along with money from his pockets.
Earlier in the day, around 5:30 a.m., a 25-year-old Glen Burnie man was robbed of $100 as he was walking down Courtros Court in Freetown Village.
At 11:30 p.m. Sunday, a 34-year-old Crofton man was buying gas at the Crofton Mobil Station on Route 3 when a gunman grabbed his arm and began dragging him toward the road, threatening to shoot him unless he turned over his money. The man handed over about $5, and the gunman took the victim's wallet before runningaway, police said.
In light of the robberies, county police Officer Guy Della of the Crime Prevention Unit recommends extra caution --particularly during the holiday season, with robberies at malls and in parking lots increasing.
"Malls are the biggest target this time of year," he said, recommending that people try to shop only duringdaylight hours.
"If you have to take your packages out to the car, put them in a concealed area," he said. "Most malls now are realizing there is a problem with robberies and are offering places to storeyour packages while you are shopping."
Other safety tips from county police include:
* If you see people loitering in parking lots or garages, go the other way and park in a well-lighted area. Never park in a dark area.
* Lock your car and close your windows, even if you are going to be gone only a few minutes.
* To discourage purse snatchers, don't overload yourself with packages. Lock them in thetrunk.
* Avoid carrying a lot of cash.
* Be wary of strangers asking for charitable donations. Ask for identification and how the money is going to be used.