ANNAPOLIS -- Sen. Walter M. Baker and his wife, Jean, are the latest victims in a rash of purse-snatchings in Annapolis.
The Cecil County Democrat and his wife were walking along West Street about 10 p.m. Tuesday when a young man approached them from behind and grabbed Mrs. Baker's purse by the strap.
"He started to drag her up the street, and I ran after him," the senator said. "I hit him three or four times with my umbrella, then the strap broke."
The thief made off with $400 in cash, several credit cards and some keys, including the key to the Bakers' hotel room.
"We didn't sleep very well last night," Mr. Baker said yesterday, after spending the night in the same room.
Mr. Baker, chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, said hesuspected trouble as soon as he saw the young man start to follow him and his wife.
"I was watching him all the time," he said. "Your sixth sense tells you you're about to get it."
The purse-snatching was the eighth in Annapolis in recent weeks.
A wave of crime in the city's historic district, including a midafternoon bank robbery on Main Street earlier this month, has shaken business and civic leaders.
Several women have been accosted by purse-snatchers while walking home from their cars at night. At least three men also were robbed leaving bank machines or walking downtown late at night.
"We're no longer isolated. The crime problem here is the same as in the rest of the state and the nation,"
City Administrator Michael Mallinoff said. Police said purse-snatchings and similar thefts follow a pattern often exacerbated during hard economic times.
Today in Annapolis
10 a.m.: House and Senate convene, State House.
11 a.m.: House Appropriations Committee considers bills involving changes to the state's welfare programs, Room 130, House Office Building.
1 p.m.: Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee considers various victims' rights bills, Room 300, Senate Office Building.
1:30 p.m.: House Ways and Means Committee considers bills involving state aid to education, Room 110, House Office Building.
2 p.m.: Gov. William Donald Schaefer holds news conference, State House.
There are 47 days remaining in the 1992 General Assembly session.