An elderly husband and wife were bound and robbed last night by a gunman who came to their Pikesville home posing as a deliveryman.
Baltimore County police gave this account:
A man in his 20s, wearing what appeared to be a brown United Parcel Service uniform jacket, knocked on the front door of the home of Edward Attman in the 3700 block of Breton Way shortly after 7 p.m.
When Mildred Attman, 68, opened the door the man said he had a package for her husband and he had to sign for it.
Mr. Attman, 71, owner of a Savage paper company, became suspicious because the package had no writing on it and the man's clipboard was blank. He questioned the visitor.
The uniformed man started to leave, but turned around, pointed a gun at the couple and forced his way inside. He ordered the Attmans to lie on the floor while he bound their hands, feet and mouths with duct tape. Then he told the victims he needed $10,000 so his son could have an operation, police said.
The gunman ransacked a bedroom, taking several pieces of the woman's jewelry. Before fleeing the house, the assailant put the jewelry in a black nylon bag.
Police said the value of the jewelry was not known.
A few minutes later, the couple freed themselves and called police.
Neither was injured, police said.
Investigators canvassed the area for a UPS truck but did not find one, and said the company had no record of any employee making a delivery in that block.
A spokeswoman at UPS headquarters in Atlanta said today company officials were working with county police to determine whether the jacket was a UPS uniform piece.
"We do have tight controls on our uniforms," said the spokeswoman, Gina Ellrich. She said a uniform could be stolen or missing.
If customers have any doubts about a deliveryman, Ms. Ellrich said, there are several things they can do. One is to look for a UPS truck. "It would be pretty hard to come by one of our trucks," she said.
In addition, customers can ask for identification. Most UPS delivery agents carry company identification with a picture, Ms. Ellrich said.
If the deliveryman does not have a company identification card, they are required to carry an ID card issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation. That ID also has a photograph, she said.
"For the most part," Ms. Ellrich said, "our drivers have a personal rapport with their customers."