Baltimore Co. court office robbed of $203,000 in cash and checks

August 27, 1993|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

Baltimore County police are searching for a thief who slipped into an unlocked office in the County Courts Building in Towson and walked off with Monday's receipts -- $203,129.93 worth of cash and checks. All but about $3,000 was in the form of checks made out to the clerk of the Circuit Court and stamped "For Deposit Only."

The checks were for such things as land transfer taxes, recording fees and filing fees, said William Allen, chief deputy of the clerk's office.

The checks cannot be cashed, and yesterday the clerk's office was calling people who had written the checks to ask for replacements.

One title company already has sent a replacement check for $104,000, Mr. Allen said.

"Most of the people we've called so far have been very nice, and they said, sure, they would send us another check right away," he said.

NB The checks and $2,916.25 in cash were bundled and sitting in a

briefcase in an office, waiting to be deposited into a state bank account, when the theft occurred between 1:10 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday.

"In all the years I've been here, we've never had anything like this happen," Mr. Allen said.

Carol Waterfield, an employee in the clerk's office, left the money and checks in the briefcase under her desk and went to lunch about 1 p.m.

She asked a fellow employee to watch the briefcase while she was gone, according to a police report.

The other employee, Irene Summers, did watch the briefcase but left the office briefly to use a fax machine in the office next door, which happens to be Mr. Allen's. Mr. Allen said Ms. Summers was away from the briefcase for no more than two minutes.

The theft was not discovered until Ms. Waterfield came back from lunch at 1:30 p.m., Mr. Allen said, adding, "We've asked everyone in the office, and no one saw anything."

Besides the missing money and checks, the thief took Mr. Allen's sports coat.

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