Youth killed, three arrested in car-jacking FBI considers decoys to stop mounting robberies

September 14, 1992|By Kris Antonelli and Glenn Small | Kris Antonelli and Glenn Small,Staff Writers

Three Largo teen-agers were arrested yesterday in connection with an armed car-jacking in which an off-duty FBI agent shot and killed a fourth youth.

In Howard County, meanwhile, police were searching for two men who took a 1993 Jeep Cherokee at gunpoint in a crowded parking lot across from Columbia Mall on Saturday night.

And the FBI said it may set up undercover decoys to discourage thieves who have been strong-arming motorists out of their autos.

The 16- and 17-year-old Largo youths were charged as adults with attempted armed robbery and use of a handgun in the attempted car-jacking Saturday night. They were being held last night in the Prince George's County Detention Center on $85,000 bond each.

County police said the FBI agent, whom they would not identify, interrupted four people allegedly trying to steal a car when he drove into a parking lot in the 100 block of Green Meadow Way in Largo.

One of the four youths, armed with a .38-caliber revolver, demanded that the agent turn over his 1983 Honda Accord, police said.

The agent gave the gunman his keys. When the gunman got inside the car, the agent drew his gun and shot the man through the window, police said. Anthony Tyrone Brown, 18, of Largo was hit in the upper body and pronounced dead at the scene.

Police identified the suspects in custody as Marquette Demann, 17, Heinrich Yergin Goodger, 16, and Earl Stanely Neale, 16, all of Largo.

Howard County police said two men accosted four people about 10 p.m. at the Columbia Cinemas parking lot.

The two men threatened the victims with a handgun and demanded the keys to the Cherokee, then drove it away. Police recovered the vehicle. A man arrested moments after the car-jacking was released after investigators determined he was not involved, police said.

Police said the victims were couples from Harford County and Reston, Va. They were unhurt.

In a third incident over the weekend, police arrested two gun-wielding teen-age girls early Saturday following a car-jacking Forestville in Prince George's County.

The problem of car-jacking became top national news last week because of an attack in the Howard County community of Savage. Pam Basu, a chemist taking her 22-month-old daughter to preschool Tuesday, was dragged 1 1/2 miles and killed as two thieves sped away in her auto, prompting calls in Congress to make car-jacking a federal crime.

"Decoys are a viable option," FBI Special Agent Frank Scafidi said. "If the FBI can help in any way to turn around what's beginning to be a real escalating problem, we'll spare no expense in equipment and manpower."

The operation could involve unmarked cars, plainclothes officers and decoy drivers in luxury cars that have been the targets of the armed auto thefts, Agent Scafidi said.

"What happened in Maryland should be a wake-up call," said Rep. Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat who is sponsoring a bill to make car-jacking a federal crime.

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