Police take advantage of a fugitive's devotion to his boa

THIS JUST IN...

October 25, 1993|By DAN RODRICKS

So this convicted drug dealer, Tony Joshua, is wanted for violating his parole in Baltimore County and, when the fugitive-hunters go sniffing for him, they head for his last known address.

The last-known landlord tells them Joshua has been evicted.

Working this case are Sgt. Al Rehn of the state police, veteran FBI agent Sam Wichner and Baltimore County Detective Donald Diehl. They hear from the landlord that Joshua left a pet -- a 4-foot boa constrictor.

The boa had been taken to the animal shelter in Baldwin. Sergeant Rehn -- "Please call me Al" -- plays a hunch that Joshua loves this boa so much he'd risk going to jail for it.

Al calls the animal shelter and -- whaddaya know? -- Joshua already had called there looking for it. Learning the whereabouts of the boa, Joshua had promised to come and get it.

So the fugitive squad sets up a stakeout at the animal shelter. They do this for a few hours each day and -- whaddaya know? -- Joshua posts for the boa on the fourth day.

Al and his comrades arrest Joshua without incident even though, it turns out, Joshua was armed with an automatic handgun. He also had 17 grams of heroin in his car.

Joshua recently got a 10-year, no-parole sentence. The boa, by the way, has been adopted.

MA Which means neither man nor boa will be homeless for a while.

A happy ending

Sign spotted recently outside Doc & Annie's Tavern, Ritchie Highway, Brooklyn Park: "Jackie McLung makes his bad checks good." That's an update of an earlier sign that said: "Jackie McLung writes bad checks." Doc King and Annie Smith don't fool around with deadbeats who stick them for bar tabs or rent on the upstairs rooms. They humiliate them by putting the names on the roadside sign. The McLung sign went up in late summer 1992, and Doc vowed to keep it until McLung made good on the checks he wrote for a total of $95. "I doubt if I'll get it," Doc moaned. But Jackie, an auto repairman, came through, and Doc announced the happy ending on his sign. Then he and Annie took off for Cancun.

Getting an earful

About the Baltimore Opera Company's production of "Lucia di Lammermoor," which finished its Lyric run yesterday afternoon, let me say this: It was superb, it was gorgeous. The second-act sextet ("Chi mi frena in tal momento") was absolutely stunning, one of those moments that forces you to stop and stare with your ears. The tune was familiar -- I first heard it sung by The Stooges -- but the leads, chorus and orchestra performed it with such beauty and emotion that even old opera buffs could have believed they were hearing it for the first time. If Donizetti wasn't dead, I'd high-five him for writing it. Pardon all this gushing. Baltimore Opera productions get better all the time, so I suggest some financial planning to ensure tickets to Verdi's "Macbeth" in March or, if you're an opera novice, Puccini's "La Boheme" (the one that made Cher cry in "Moonstruck") in April.

A word from cue source

"We are trying to elevate cuemaking to an art form," drawls Leonard Bludworth, Houston craftsman and big daddy of the American Cuemakers Association. "So we've got a couple of nice ladies from Baltimore to judge our competition -- Judith Lippman, of the Meredith Gallery, and Diane Brandt Stillman, from the Walters. I got their resumes here and, Gooooood Lord, )) they floored me! These ladies don't know anything about pool cues but they know what art is."

More than 50 cuemakers head this way Friday for a three-day convention at the Sheraton International at BWI. They'll exhibit cues and engage in a design competition. "I've judged many competitions before, and we're often asked to look at the combination of aesthetics and function," Stillman says. "There's no reason to think pool cues will be any different."

The association was formed to promote U.S.-made cues, and some of the finest come from Towson. (Joss Cues' sticks were used by Tom Cruise and Paul Newman in "The Color of Money.") How big is the market? "Well," says Bludworth, "there was one study recently, said 44 million Americans play pool at least three times a week." So where does Arnold get off saying we are a nation of girlie men?

Poem from prison

John Thanos, who sits on Maryland's Death Row wishing to hear no more of appeals, recently sent poems he penned while in prison to Sun reporter Glenn Small. This one is titled, "To My Old Feather Bed."

I pondered 'bout the rainbow

and then of sugary sweets,

'bout the Baker's dozen,

of cookie jars and treats.

Drifting even further,

A walkin thru the past,

barefootin down the hollows,

a chewin sassafras.

Yonder ways I saw,

a farmer's long straight row,

the harvest-moon a'risin,

set off a fiery glow.

The crickets started creakin,

they could have woke the dead,

as thru the past I journeyed,

& to my old feather bed.

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