Police baffled by abduction, repeated stabbing of businessman

February 28, 1992|By Michael James and Roger Twigg | Michael James and Roger Twigg,Staff Writers Richard Irwin, Frank D. Roylance and Bruce Reid contributed to this article.

A Baltimore businessman and friend of the governor who said two abductors repeatedly stabbed him and tried to drown him in a Sykesville creek Tuesday has become "part of a puzzle with a dozen missing pieces," a state police spokesman said.

The victim, Frank Allen Storch, 34, of Northwest Baltimore, was found walking along Arrington Road in Carroll County about 14 hours after a man and a woman abducted him from a Jessup hotel where the group was to meet to discuss business, state police said.

But Mr. Storch, a licensed private detective and the president of M. Leo Storch Management Corp. real estate company in Lanham, has suffered memory lapses and has been unable to fully recount the ordeal, said state police spokesman Chuck Jackson.

Investigators interviewed Mr. Storch at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center yesterday. Afterward, Gov. William Donald Schaefer paid Mr. Storch -- whom the governor referred to as a "good friend" -- a get-well visit.

Police said Mr. Storch met the two unidentified people at the Holiday Inn on U.S. 1 in Jessup for a 10 p.m. Tuesday meeting arranged through his office. But a struggle ensued on the hotel parking lot and the pair handcuffed and blindfolded Mr. Storch and threw him into the back of their van, police said.

Mr. Storch was unable to tell investigators what the meeting was about or how the struggle started, Mr. Jackson said.

After taking the licensed gun that Mr. Storch routinely carries, the man and woman left the parking lot, with one of them presumably driving Mr. Storch's 1989 light blue Lincoln Continental, which still is missing.

Mr. Storch was not heard from again until about 10 p.m. the next day, when he called his wife -- who had reported him missing to police two hours earlier -- to say he had spent the night at a local hotel because he was ill.

"We don't know if the call was made under any duress, possibly at knifepoint or gunpoint," Mr. Jackson said. Also unexplained is what the abductors did with Mr. Storch for the 10 or 11 hours before the phone call, he said.

At noon, three withdrawals were made on Mr. Storch's American Express card, totaling $3,500. Each withdrawal was made at an automated teller machine at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where a witness said he saw a man matching Mr. Storch's description, police said.

The abductors then drove the victim to Arrington Road in Sykesville, where they stabbed him several times and beat his head against rocks in a nearby creek, police said.

Mr. Storch was found by passing motorists at 3:30 p.m., in a dazed and disoriented state, police said.

"We're still trying to sort out the sequence of events, and we have several unanswered questions," Mr. Jackson said.

Mr. Storch, who lives in the 6700 block of Westbrook Road, was listed in serious but stable condition last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

The small real estate company Mr. Storch runs oversees several shopping centers, mostly in Prince George's County, said property manager Kathy Coakley. A neighbor said Mr. Storch is married and has three young children.

Police got word late Wednesday that a plastic bag with identification and other belongings of Mr. Storch was found at a landfill in the 600 block of West Patapsco Avenue in South Baltimore.

Details about how the bag got to the landfill were sketchy. Southern District police said a pedestrian saw someone drive by and toss the bag. Police said the bag contained Mr. Storch's driver's license, a gun permit, a bloody shirt, pants and a hat.

Mr. Storch is active in the Northwest Citizens' Patrol, a group established in the early 1980s to help control crime in Northwest Baltimore.

A neighbor, Mrs. David N. Rinder, described Mr. Storch as "a good, good, good person . . . a fine neighbor and a fine businessman. This is a very tight community, very religious, and he is a very influential person."

Gerald Shavrick, executive director of Project Ezra, a safety organization in the Jewish community, described Mr. Storch as a "champion of safety."

He said Mr. Storch was the chairman and prime mover behind the creation of Project Ezra four years ago. The organization offers residents training and education in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, seat belt use, bicycle safety, fire and crime safety and related issues.

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