2 on probation in $500,000 MTA theftTwo former Mass...


July 01, 1992

BALTIMORE CITY: — 2 on probation in $500,000 MTA theft

Two former Mass Transit Administration employees were placed on probation yesterday in the theft of an estimated $500,000 from bus fare boxes.

Arvelle C. Cole, 43, and Bettie McKnight, 47, were convicted last month of conspiracy. MTA officials say thefts began in July 1989 after a cash box skeleton key was stolen.

Cole, an 18-year employee who worked as a "vault puller" responsible for removing the fare boxes, also was convicted of felony theft after the six-day jury trial.

Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Paul A. Smith yesterday granted Cole probation before judgment, which allows the West Baltimore man's conviction to be erased if he completes terms of probation.

McKnight, also of West Baltimore, was given the opportunity to receive probation before judgment, but her lawyer, Howard L. Cardin, asked the judge to instead issue a suspended sentence. Mr. Cardin said the woman intends to appeal, a right she would forfeit by accepting probation before judgment.

Judge Smith gave McKnight, who had worked as a security guard, six months suspended.

He placed Cole and McKnight on five years of supervised probation and ordered them to perform 200 hours community service and pay more than $1,000 in court costs.

Cole, who continued to deny taking the money, also was ordered to pay $10,000 restitution.

MTA officials say about $500,000 in daily bus receipts was reported missing from the time the key was stolen to April 1991. These officials laid about $27,000 in losses to the work of Cole and McKnight between March 3 and April 19 of last year, the period covered in the criminal charges.

The judge said McKnight also should pay $10,000 in restitution, but Mr. Cardin questioned whether restitution can be ordered for someone convicted only of conspiracy. Judge Smith said he would decide the issue later.

A gunman robbed a 28-year-old man near an automated bank machine in Northeast Baltimore yesterday, then shot the victim in the back, police said.

The victim, James Milligs of the 5400 block of Relcrest Road, was listed in guarded condition today at Francis Scott Key Medical Center.

AMr. Milligs had taken money out of the teller machine in the 5600 block of Frankford Ave. and was walking home just before noon.

After Mr. Milligs gave the gunman the money, he shot him.

Maryland State:

A Washington County District Court judge denied bail yesterday for a man charged with shooting another man, then firing into a crowd on a Hagerstown street, hitting a woman.

Jeffrey R. Bastine, 19, of Mount Airy, has been charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder, reckless endangerment and carrying a concealed weapon.

The shooting occurred Monday night when Mr. Bastine, a native New Yorker, and another New York man were fighting on a street with a group of about 10 to 15 Hagerstown men, police said.

About 50 people watched.

Police said a man pulled out a gun and shot Freddy L. Gardin of Hagerstown in the left side. He then fired several shots into the crowd, hitting Wiytte S. Hunter in the head as she stood across the street, holding her baby. Ms. Hunter was in critical condition in Washington County Hospital. The baby wasn't hurt.

Mr. Gardin was in critical but stable condition at the Maryland Shock-Trauma Center.

Anne Arundel County:

A Circuit Court judge has reversed the county Board of Appeals and ordered that a grading permit be granted to a Florida developer who plans to build on 22 acres near Shady Side.

In a 29-page decision, Judge Eugene M. Lerner ruled yesterday that BMCN Joint Ventures Inc., a consortium of four corporations, would not violate the county's Critical Area law by building on non-tidal wetlands.

BMCN received a permit in October 1991 to build roads and lay sewer lines for 96 homes in the Back Bay Beach development. tTC But the board rescinded the permit after protests by residents and environmentalists.

Baltimore County:

Former County Councilman Gary Huddles has been sued by a Towson law firm for $6,833 he allegedly owes for rent and office fees.

Mr. Huddles, who subleased space from the firm of Hoden & Pessin at 22 W. Allegheny Ave., answered the District Court suit by asking that the case be tried before a jury in Circuit Court. The suit, filed this spring, was transferred to the Circuit Court Monday. No trial date has been set.

Court records show that Hoden & Pessin subleased office space to Mr. Huddles for $2,000 a month, plus postage and telephone costs. Last September, the firm sent Mr. Huddles a letter giving him 30 days to vacate. The suit says Mr. Huddles didn't leave until February.

Carroll County:

After 33 years with the State Police, Mount Airy resident Capt. Thomas Bosley is going to take time to smell the roses.

The ones in his own back yard.

Today, the commander of the Central Troop -- the Westminster, Waterloo and Frederick barracks -- is retiring and trading his trademark Stetson for a gardener's cap.

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