Grocery holdup suspects hit a dead end 1 arrested

January 24, 1994|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

A dead-end road spoiled the getaway after two men staged a bold, but apparently poorly planned, armed robbery of a crowded Owings Mill supermarket yesterday afternoon.

One suspect was arrested and $1,800 and a .22-caliber handgun were recovered after the suspects' Toyota Corolla turned into the dead-end road with police in pursuit. Police were seeking the second suspect in a wooded area last night.

Shoppers lined up at checkout counters dropped to the floor about 1:30 p.m. as the two men ordered the manager of the Giant Food store at Reisterstown Road and St. Thomas Lane into the store's office at gunpoint.

Customers could hear a man yelling obscenities from the direction of the manager's office when suddenly, "a cashier said, 'everyone get down, it's a holdup!' " recalled a woman who had been standing in line with her 5-year-old son.

She and other customers spent about three minutes on the floor until Giant employees told them it was safe to stand.

"The place was packed, I can't believe they did it," she said.

Responding to a holdup alarm, police arrived to see two men running across the parking lot, climb into the Toyota and drive onto Reisterstown Road.

Police, with their sirens and emergency lights turned on, signaled for the suspects to pull over, but the Toyota continued south along Reisterstown Road. It turned right onto Woodholme Avenue toward the Woodholme Country Club.

"They took a wrong turn, well, good for us," said Officer Robert Conroy, who made the arrest. "We just took our time following them because the road was pretty icy, and we knew they couldn't go anywhere."

The men drove into a backyard and bailed out, said Officer Conroy, who arrested a 24-year-old Baltimore man after a brief foot chase. The man's identify was not immediately divulged.

Police said the Toyota had been reported stolen earlier in the city.

One policeman, Officer Scott DeFelice, was treated for minor injuries at the Northwest Hospital Center after he fell on railroad tracks between Woodholme Road and Interstate 795 while chasing the fleeing suspect.

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