Convicted car thief held on 2 new auto charges Man was on probation at time of alleged theft

July 26, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

Ricky Lee Smith appears to like taking cars that don't belong to him for a ride.

But in the past two weeks, he took a ride through the court system -- in and out, then back in again.

On July 11, Smith was arrested and charged with stealing a car from the parking lot of a Hampstead bar. He was held at the Carroll County Detention Center on $5,500 bond, but two days later, his bond was eliminated by District Judge Donald F. Smith and he was free.

On July 16, Smith was again arrested and charged with auto theft. Bail this time was set by a court commissioner at $10,000.

But on July 17, Judge Smith reduced Smith's bail to $500. Three days later, he posted the money and was let out of jail again.

Ricky Lee Smith's police record includes three driving-while-intoxicated convictions, a battery conviction, and two convictions for auto theft.

Smith was released from the Carroll County Detention Center on June 3 after serving a year and four months of the two-year sentence imposed for those convictions last year.

His release was the beginning of five years of supervised probation, which includes prohibitions against, among other things, accruing auto theft charges.

On Wednesday, Smith was once again behind bars at the detention center as a result of no-bond arrest warrants issued for the two new auto theft charges.

He will likely remain in jail without bail until those charges are heard in September.

If convicted, he could be found in violation of the terms of his probation and could face an additional six years in state prison on top of any sentence levied in the two new cases.

Each of the new charges carries a possible sentence of 15 years.

Smith's journey through the Carroll legal system has left the owner of the vehicle in the latest incident baffled.

"You really begin to feel betrayed, like the justice system has totally left you down," said Todd Rill, the 31-year-old Hampstead man who called state police July 16 after he noticed someone driving his Chevy pickup up his own driveway.

"It seems like you have no say in the system," Mr. Rill said. "We feel really bad for the police. It's like they're fighting a losing battle."

Judge Smith -- who is not related to Ricky Lee Smith -- was out of town and unavailable for comment last week.

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