Officer's bicycle swiped as he makes drug arrest

January 10, 1993|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

While two Baltimore police patrol officers tussled with a suspected drug dealer Friday, someone stole one of their 21-speed black mountain bikes worth $878, police said.

The bicycles had been left unattended for less than a minute, but that was time enough for the thief to abscond with one, said Lt. Wendell France of the Northern District.

"They were only away from the bikes for about 30 or 40 seconds," Lieutenant France said. "But when they went back, one was gone."

Sgt. John Kowalczuk and Officer Mark Janicki were riding in the 3100 block of Woodland Ave. about noon when they saw three men apparently working out a drug deal in an alley, police said. Following regulations of the experimental program started in the Northern District last fall, Officer Janicki stayed with the bicycles while Sergeant Kowalczuk confronted the men, police said.

Moments later, two suspects bolted and ran, while a third started struggling with Sergeant Kowalczuk, police said. Officer Janicki immediately went to help his partner, leaving the bikes next to some bushes.

The two officers subdued the third man -- identified as Allen Harmon, 28, of the 3900 block of Fairview Ave. -- and arrested him on a drug possession charge, police said. No one was injured, and police said they have no IDs on the other men.

When the officers turned to go back to their bikes, they noticed that Sergeant Kowalczuk's bicycle had been taken, although there was no sign of anyone, police said.

The bike is described as a 20-inch Cannondale model with "Baltimore Police" written in gray on the crossbar and side. It had PTC no police equipment, such as a nightstick or a gun, when taken, police said.

Police spokesman Sam Ringgold said the theft does not dampen the department's high hopes for the bike patrol program. Four patrols of bicycle officers, working in pairs, cover the Northern District, but police expect to expand into other areas soon.

"The patrols have been very well received by citizens. . . . There have even been days when people have hailed down officers riding by just to talk," Mr. Ringgold said. "We feel this is a successful program, and we'll continue to use it."

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