Burglar gets 20 years in prison Defendant blames his drug problem ANNAPOLIS/SOUTH COUNTY -- Davidsonville * Edgewater * Shady Side * Deale

January 14, 1993|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

A man who broke into an Annapolis home last April and holed up in an attic, only to be smoked out when police threw a videocassette inside and yelled "Gas!" was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday.

Charles Ford, 22, of the 1100 block of Madison St., Annapolis, was sentenced by Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr.

During a 20-minute hearing, the defendant said he had just kicked a heroin habit.

Ford told Judge Thieme his drug problem provoked him to force his way, with an accomplice, into the home of William Cook Sr. of the 1300 block of Colony Drive.

Ford said he was told that the home -- which belonged to his cousin -- had a safe filled with cash.

The Cook family escaped after Ford and the accomplice, Michael A. White, 21, of the 8500 block of Pioneer Drive in Severn, burst through the front door shortly after midnight April 2. One of the men was armed with a handgun, police said.

Police were called and the suspects fled into the attic, where officers cornered them but were hesitant to rush in because they were told one burglar had a pistol.

The two-hour standoff ended when one of the officers threatened to use tear gas but, having none on hand, threw a videotape into the attic and shouted "Gas!"

Ford pleaded guilty to burglary, attempted armed robbery and illegal use of a handgun in the robbery attempt.

White, who has pleaded guilty to burglary, attempted armed robbery and illegal use of a handgun in the incident, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 20.

At sentencing yesterday, Judge Thieme said Ford had been convicted of assault with intent to murder and was free on an appeal bond at the time he broke into the Cook home.

"I think the state has already given this man just consideration," he said.

Ford was convicted of assault with intent to murder in the Nov. 21, 1990 shooting of Timothy Leo Price, 28, of the 200 block of Jawal Court.

Police said at least 24 shots were fired at Mr. Price, who was hit in the foot and in the chest, and that an automatic Uzi or MAC-10 submachine gun may have been used.

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