Thief Upgrades Wheels, Mid-heist

March 29, 1992|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff writer

A car thief who made off with a Linthicum man's van apparently wasn't satisfied with the early-model Ford Econoline. Handgun in hand, he traded it in for a 1985 Plymouth Laser that belonged to the man's friend.

The exchange started at 6:30 p.m., when the two victims, who asked to remain anonymous, left the Olympic Swim Center on Riva Road in Annapolis and found that the first man's van had been stolen.

The man reported the theft to police and left the swim center with his friend in the latter's Laser.

"We figured that a couple of kids went joy-riding, so we drove around some parking lots looking forit," the Econoline's owner said.

The pair spotted the van in the West Street McDonald's parking lot a short time later.

They drove up and parked in front of it, blocking the parking

space. Leaving the keys in the Plymouth, they confronted the driver, who emerged from the van with a handgun.

"We figured we would scare him a little," the Econoline owner said. "But when we saw the gun, we got nervous."

The gunman told the pair to back off, then changed his mind.

"Wait, I'll take that," he said, jumping into the Plymouth and driving off, leaving a companion behind in the passenger seat of the van.

The two victims ran into the McDonald's to call police. When they returned, the passenger was gone.

Police found the Plymouth a shorttime later in a parking lot of a West Street office building about ablock away.

"The van was just about out of gas," the owner said. "I don't really know why he changed his mind."

The gunman was described as white, in his late 20s or early 30s. He was 6 feet tall, with a black mustache and beard.

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