2 cars pirated in city 3 victims include elderly pair

October 10, 1992|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

A 78-year-old man visiting from Florida and his 83-year-old sister-in-law were the victims in the second of two carjackings in Baltimore yesterday.

A man drove off with the elderly victims' money and rental car but the vehicle crashed into a utility pole minutes later. A suspect was arrested after officers chased him down an alley near Vineyard Lane and Greenmount Avenue in Northeast Baltimore where the crash occurred, police said.

In the first carjacking, a 35-year-old woman reported to police that two men stole her 1989 Chevrolet Cavalier in Southwest Baltimore about 7:30 a.m. No suspects have been arrested in that case, and the car was still missing last night.

The second carjacking occurred about 3 p.m. Police said the two victims -- L.J. Gillespie of Palm Harbor, Fla., and Thelma Michelman of Northeast Baltimore -- were sitting in a rented 1992 Buick Regal parked in front of Woodlea's Bakery in the 4900 block of Belair Road. Mr. Gillespie's wife, Mary, was inside the bakery.

Suddenly, a man opened the car door and sat in the driver's seat, police said. The man put his hand into his pocket, indicating that he had a weapon, and ordered the two to hand over their valuables, police said. Mr. Gillespie jumped out, police said, and the carjacker took Ms. Michelman's purse -- containing $183.63 and Mr. Gillespie's wallet -- and ordered her out.

The keys had been left in the ignition and the man started the car and took off, heading south on Belair Road. The victims ran inside the bakery and called police, who put out an alert for the white Buick.

"I didn't get two blocks from the station [on Argonne Drive] when there was a white Buick Regal coming right at me," said Sgt. Richard Barger, a plainclothes officer who was driving an unmarked Chevrolet Cavalier. "I swung around and started following him."

Sergeant Barger said he followed the car for several blocks, but the driver seemed unaware he was being pursued.

"He was going nice and easy, just cruising along," the sergeant said.

When the Buick reached Greenmount Avenue, backup patrol cars joined the pursuit with their lights flashing. Moments later, the Buick crashed into the light pole, police said. Police said the carjacker ran from the car and down a nearby alley clutching the purse. Officers cornered him there and arrested him.

The purse was returned to Ms. Michelman with the money and the wallet still inside, police said.

There were no injuries.

The suspect, identified as George Cole, 42, of the 2800 block of Clifton Ave., was charged with two counts of armed robbery, police said. He was awaiting a bail hearing before a court commissioner last night.

"There have always been armed robbers stealing cars," Sergeant Barger said. "It's just that now, somebody's put a name to it."

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