Severna Park's 'Dr. Bob' indicted on felony counts

March 01, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

An Anne Arundel County grand jury indicted a Severna Park businessman yesterday on charges of breaking into an Annapolis restaurant he once owned and carting off its contents -- tacking felony charges onto the misdemeanor charges he already faces.

Robert Franklin Miller, 40, who lived in the 800 block of Dividing Road and was known locally as "Dr. Bob," was scheduled to stand trial later this month in Anne Arundel Circuit Court on theft and misdemeanor breaking-and-entering charges.

But the county grand jury indicted Mr. Miller on three counts of felony theft, four counts of breaking and entering and four counts of passing bad checks.

According to police and witnesses, Mr. Miller hired work crews, rented two trucks and broke into the Bridgeview Restaurant on Sixth Street in the early morning hours of May 24, 1993. Once inside, he took all of the furnishings, food and liquor, police said.

Mr. Miller, who had run the restaurant for about two months, showed Annapolis police ownership papers and asked for protection in case a hostile former partner tried to block the operation.

But police said they later learned the ownership papers were outdated and that Mr. Miller had agreed to divest himself of any interest in the restaurant just a few days earlier. Mr. Miller is accused of stealing $50,000 worth of restaurant property.

State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee said last night that the new breaking-and-entering and felony theft charges were tied to the May 1993 incident and that the bad check charges stemmed from other business dealings related to the restaurant.

He said the indictments were sought when "additional facts" surfaced in the case after Mr. Miller was arrested last summer, but he declined to elaborate.

Mr. Miller is accused in the indictment of stealing at least $300 in property in March 1993 from two men -- James Foote, an Annapolis businessman who had planned to sell the Bridgeview to Mr. Miller, and Charles Ellenberger of Ellicott City, Mr. Miller's partner in the venture.

Mr. Miller is also accused in the indictment of passing four bad checks to Mr. Foote: for $9,000 on April 15, 1993; for $1,175 on April 21; for $1,075 on May 7; and for $1,075 on May 10.

Mr. Weathersbee could not say last night whether Mr. Miller would be tried on the additional charges at the March 22 trial.

Mr. Miller also had been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with a diploma program for would-be chiropractors that police investigators said he was setting up in a suite of rented offices in downtown Annapolis.

But those charges were dismissed by Mr. Weathersbee's office after Circuit Judge Bruce C. Williams ruled the 40 boxes of evidence seized from Mr. Miller's offices were inadmissible because the search warrant was obtained without sufficient probable cause.

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